Aerospace Engineering Seminars

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AE 590 Seminar: Towards safe, data-driven autonomy

Event Type
Department of Aerospace Engineering
Apr 25, 2022   4:00 - 5:00 pm  
Marco Pavone | Associate Professor Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University and NVIDIA
Courtney McLearin

AI-powered autonomous vehicles that can learn, reason, and interact with people are no longer science fiction. Self-driving cars, unmanned aerial vehicles, and autonomous spacecraft, among others, are continually increasing in capability and seeing incremental deployment in more and more domains. However, fundamental research questions still need to be addressed in order to achieve full and widespread vehicle autonomy. In this talk, I will discuss our work on addressing key open problems in the field of vehicle autonomy, particularly in pursuit of safe, data-driven autonomy stacks. Specifically, I will discuss (1) robust human prediction models for both simulation and real-time decision making, (2) AI safety frameworks for autonomous systems, and (3) novel, highly integrated autonomy architectures that are amenable to end-to-end training while retaining a modular, interpretable structure. The discussion will be grounded in autonomous driving and aerospace robotics applications.

About the speaker:
Dr. Marco Pavone is an Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University, where he is the Director of the Autonomous Systems Laboratory and Co-Director of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford. He is currently on a partial leave of absence at NVIDIA serving as Director of Autonomous Vehicle Research. Before joining Stanford, he was a Research Technologist within the Robotics Section at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He received a Ph.D. degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010. His main research interests are in the development of methodologies for the analysis, design, and control of autonomous systems, with an emphasis on self-driving cars, autonomous aerospace vehicles, and future mobility systems. He is a recipient of a number of awards, including a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Barack Obama, an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, a National Science Foundation Early Career (CAREER) Award, a NASA Early Career Faculty Award, and an Early-Career Spotlight Award from the Robotics Science and Systems Foundation. He was identified by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) as one of America's 20 most highly promising investigators under the age of 40.

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