Building Better Bots with Bayes: Probabilistic Human-Machine Reasoning for Collaborative Autonomy

Nisar Ahmed

Event Details
Thursday, April 13, 2023
3:30 PM, 115 Avery Hall

4:30 PM, 115 Avery Hall

Nisar Ahmed, Ph.D.

Associate Professor & H.J. Smead Professor, Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department University of Colorado, Boulder


From the development of foundational state space estimation tools like the Kalman filter to state of the art machine learning techniques for sensor fusion and decision making, probabilistic models and reasoning algorithms are the “lingua franca” for modern robotics and autonomous systems. The COHRINT Lab at CU develops and leverages probabilistic AI in new and unique ways to tackle fundamental research questions for current and futuristic systems. In this talk, I will highlight my lab’s recent work in the area of human-machine/robot interaction for collaborative information gathering and reasoning, using probabilistic state estimation and decision-making algorithms. These methods not only plug in seamlessly to existing autonomy architectures, but exploit the ability of human collaborators to provide semantic data via user-friendly interfaces that are “out of band” for autonomous platforms. Applications to aerospace applications such as integrated surveillance/reconnaissance, wilderness search and rescue, and remote space exploration will be demonstrated and discussed.

Speaker Bio

Nisar Ahmed is an Associate Professor and H.J. Smead Faculty Fellow in the Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is a member of the Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles (RECUV) and directs the Cooperative Human-Robot Intelligence (COHRINT) Lab. He received his B.S. in Engineering from Cooper Union in 2006, his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University in 2012 through an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and he was a postdoctoral research associate in the Cornell Autonomous Systems Lab from 2012 to 2014. He was awarded the 2011 AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference Best Paper Award; an ASEE Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship in 2014; and the 2018 Aerospace Control and Guidance Systems Committee (ACGSC) Dave Ward Memorial Lecture Award. His work has been supported by the Army, Air Force, DARPA, Navy, NASA, Space Force, and multiple industry sponsors. He has organized several international workshops and symposia on autonomous robotics, sensor fusion, and human-machine interaction. He is a Member of the IEEE and the AIAA Intelligent Systems Technical Committee, and he is the CU Site Director of the NSF IUCRC Center for Aerial Autonomy, Mobility, and Sensing (CAAMS).