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Adam Dean,
NSF Graduate Fellow

NSF GK-12 Project: Pennsylvania State University
Graduate Research and Education in Advanced Transportation Technology (GREATT)
URL: http://csats.psu.edu/GREATT/

Thesis Title: High Speed Mobile Robot Modeling and Coordination
College/University: Pennsylvania State University

Research Advisor: Sean Brennan

Degree Sought
Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

University Department and/or Lab
Mechanical Engineering/Intelligent Vehicles and Systems Group

Research Focus
My research centers on developing dynamic models for coordinating mobile robots for high speed locomotion across uneven terrain.

Description of Research
Operation of autonomous mobile robots at speeds greater than a slow walk is challenged by the impact of terrain features on the dynamics and stability of the chassis. My goal is to develop dynamic models suitable for relatively high speed (10-20 mph) off-road control of mobile robots and to use these models to assist in the coordination of sensors and behaviors of groups of robots.

Example of how my research is integrated into my GK-12 experience
The challenge with developing a dynamic model for a mobile robot is that you can never tell how well the model will work until you actually try it on a real robot. Regardless of the mathematical background, applied theory, or extensive simulation, rarely is the design process completed without several iterations of hypothesizing and experimenting.

My favorite part of teaching my elementary students is allowing them to try an idea, assessing its success, and then modifying the idea while looking for improvements. Whether we’re building paper airplanes or making lemon batteries, the most enjoyable part of the process is seeing students think creatively and testing their own ideas. I like to discuss with my students how engineers need to test and re-test several ideas in order to find the best possible solution, and relate how my mobile robot is continuously being modified and the model updated.

Profile date: September 2007
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