Latest News

SUAV:Q featured in New Scientist

February 24, 2017

A shape-shifting drone takes off like a helicopter and transforms into a plane in mid-air to fly all day on solar power. The drone is designed to provide affordable aerial surveys for farmers, so they can see where to irrigate and use fertiliser and herbicide only where needed.
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Lab Director Awarded McKnight Professorship

August 22, 2016

Department of Computer Science and Engineering Professor Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos has been awarded the prestigious McKnight Presidential Professorship by University President Eric Kaler. The professorship is among the highest honors for faculty at the University.
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UMN listed among the top 20 robotics engineering schools

April 25, 2016

The University of Minnesota - Twin Cities has been identified as having one of the top robotics engineering schools in the United States for 2016.
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Dr. Nikos Papanikolopoulos Receives George Saridis Leadership Award

February 3, 2016

Professor Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos was honored with the George Saridis Leadership Award in Robotics and Automation from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' (IEEE) Robotics & Automation Society (RAS). The award recognizes outstanding contributions of an individual for his or her exceptional leadership, innovation and dedication that benefit the Robotics and Automation commun
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U of M Student Robot Helps Detect Autism Signs

April 24, 2015

Josh Fasching is researching how robots and sensor technology can help in the medical world, particularly detecting behaviors associated with autism. "Head nodding, hand flapping, ear covering, also hand ringing behaviors is another one," Fasching said of the behaviors the robots would be able to detect.
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The COTS Scout

The Scout robot has been developed at the University of Minnesota in partnership with MTS, Honeywell, and ATC. The Scout is designed to operate alone or in conjunction with Scouts or other robots.


Further Description

The Scouts are specialized robots that carry out low-level, usually parallel tasks aimed to meet the mission objectives. Scouts can include simple sensory units or units with locomotion, tools or other specializations. All Scouts have a similar form factor to enable delivery by a uniform mechanism of the ranger. The Scout has a body of roughly 11cm long, and 4cm in diameter (the special foam wheels can expand to 5cm in diameter). This body fits snugly inside a protective covering called a Sabot that absorbs much of the impact during the launch, and allows the Scout to even break through a glass window and land safely and ready to begin its mission.


Length: 135 mm
Diameter: 450 mm (main body)
Weight: 190g
Sensors: Camera (B/W)
Top Speeds:
57 mm wheel: 0.39 m/s
64 mm wheel: 0.42 m/s
76 mm wheel: 0.50 m/s
Operational Lifetime:
Quiescent Mode: 190 minutes
Full Speed: 60 minutes


Currently, there are two different versions of the COTS Scouts. The first generation and second generation COTS Scouts are very similar in electronics and communication range. The second generation COTS Scouts were developed in an attempt to address some of the problems associated with building a robot that can withstand being thrown long distances. These new hardening features allow it to take multiple throws of > 50 feet and still function.


Ian Burt, Andrew Drenner, Casey Carlson, Apostolos D. Kottas, and Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos, "Impact Orientation Invariant Robot Design: An Approach to Projectile Deployed Robotic Platforms", Proceedings of the 2006 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Orlando, FL, May 2006.

Casey Carlson, Andrew Drenner, Ian Burt, Apostolos Kottas, Charles Hays, and Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos, "Rugged Robotic Reconnaissance System" Video proceedings of the 2006 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Orlando, FL, May 2006.

Casey Carlson, Andrew Drenner, Ian Burt, Apostolos Kottas, Charles Hays, and Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos, "Rugged Mobile Robotic System" Poster Session of the 2006 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Orlando, FL, May 2006.

Ben Jackson, Ian Burt, Bradley E. Kratochvil, and Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos. "A Control System for Teams of Off-the-Shelf Scouts and MegaScouts" Proceedings of the 11th IEEE Mediterranean Conference on Control and Automation, Rhodes, Greece, June 2003.

Andrew Drenner, Ian Burt, Derek Goerke, Bradley E. Kratochvil, Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos. "COTS Scout Robot" Video proceedings of the SPIE International Symposium on Unmanned Ground Vehicle Technology V, Orlando, Florida, U.S.A., April 2003.

Bradley E. Kratochvil, Ian T. Burt, Andrew Drenner, Derek Goerke, Bennett Jackson, Colin McMillen, Christopher Olson, Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos, Adam Pfeifer, Sascha A. Stoeter, Kristen Stubbs, David Waletzko. "Heterogeneous Implementation of an Adaptive Robotic Sensing Team." Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Taipei, Taiwan, May 2003.