Keynote Speaker

Robert Fitch

University of Technology Sydney
Keynote Speaker Bio

Robert Fitch is Professor and Head of School of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering at the University of Technology Sydney. From 2007 to 2016 he was with the Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR) at The University of Sydney. Prof Fitch has led the development and delivery of real-world systems for commercial flight planning (with Qantas), broad-acre agriculture (with SwarmFarm Robotics), and autonomous localisation of radio-tagged wildlife (with Wildlife Drones). He is co-founder of the International Symposium on Multi-Robot and Multi-Agent Systems (MRS) and co-chair of the IEEE RAS Technical Committee on Multi-Robot Systems, which received the IEEE RAS Most Active Technical Committee Award in 2018.  Awards also include Best Paper in Service Robotics and finalist for Best Paper in Robot Vision in IEEE ICRA 2019. His research interests include active perception, information-based motion planning, communication-aware algorithms, and coordinated decision making in field robotics

Decentralised Active Perception in Field Robotics
Field robots are already at work in areas such as mining, agriculture, and environmental monitoring. Future applications will require larger-scale systems with multiple robots that can work autonomously in difficult conditions that push the limits of sensing, perception, planning, and communication. This talk will focus on coordinated object perception in outdoor environments and discuss how occlusions and sensor characteristics limit detection and classification accuracy, how to reduce uncertainty by combining observations from carefully chosen viewpoints, and how motion planning and mobility can play a major role in addressing these challenges through an active perception approach. The talk will give an overview of our research in developing new methods for active perception in decentralised teams that integrates ideas from perception and planning, information theory, and game AI to allow robots to coordinate their behaviour in real time. We have implemented our methods in physical systems with wireless communication, and the talk will describe several examples of multi-robot systems that search realistic environments to detect and classify objects. The talk will also look towards future systems and discuss key open challenges at the frontier of mobility, sensing, and communication.

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