Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania, 2002 M.S.
University of Pennsylvania, 1999 B.S. Rutgers
University, Magna Cum Laude 1997
is an Associate Professor in
the System Engineering Department at the United States Naval Academy. He
teaches courses in Robotics and Control Systems, and is the recipient of the
2009 USNA Rauoff Award for Excellence in Engineering Education.
Pedagogically, his current efforts are focused on teaching courses in robotics
and a new course on
autonomous vehicles. His research focuses on the use
of algorithmic and numerical tools for designing and analyzing mobile robot
He is the author of over 45 peer reviewed publications.
Prior to joining the
faculty in 2002, he spent several
years as a graduate research assistant at the University of Pennsylvania
working with Vijay Kumar at theGRASP Laboratory. During those years he
worked on a variety of DARPA projects, participated in the development of a programming
language, CHARON, and held visiting appointments at
Laboratories and Boston University.
About USNA:The Naval Academy is a 4 year
undergraduate institution conferring the Bachelors of Science degree in a
variety of accredited majors. Historically the Academy faculty has maintained a
50-50 civilian-officer ratio. Students receive tuition waivers in
exchange to commit to serve as an officer in the Navy or Marine Corps for at
least 5 years. The ABET Accredited Systems
Engineering Major is the among the most popular majors at the Academy. It
is actually an applied control systems department. At its core is a 5
course sequence in feedback control. Upper level electives include
embedded computing, modern control, communication systems and four courses in
High Speed Collision Avoidance for Unmanned Surface
Vessels: We are investigating real-time,
high fidelity collision avoidance algorithms for marine vessels.
The algorithms will account for uncertainty in the vehicle's
mass and drag coefficients, and produce high confidence
collision free trajectories. This project is funded
Cooperative Manipulation: We study how
large groups of robots can work together
to move big objects
in concert, without relying on a centralized leader. Army
ants transporting prey provide a proof
of concept in nature. Our ultimate goal is to field
a team of autonomous tug boats that can tow disabled ships.
video documentary or see our publications below for
I work with Matthew Feemster at USNA.
This project is
funded by ONR.
Mobile Wireless Networks: Imagine a large swarm
of mobile robots that have to exchange information to complete
their task. Low power ad hoc wireless technologies such as
BlueTooth and IR require that the sender and receiver are within
a certain range of each other. In addition, signal
strength improves if the sender and receiver maintain line of
sight. These two constraints restrict how the entire
group can move. VIDEO1,
Rapidly Exploring Random Trees: This popular
robot motion planning algorithm can be used to vet complex
control systems as well, by trying to find scenarios under which
control software will fail -- exposing the bugs in the code.
One of the goals of the project is to adapt the original
algorithm for this purpose, and to predict the convergence rate
of the algorithm. Here is a
video of the algorithm
discovering how an intruder can get past a team of robot
Enrollment: I serve on two committees whose objective
is to boost enrollment in technical majors at the Naval
Academy. In an effort to inform potential students
about what Systems Engineers do, I maintain this
MTIC: I wrote
(with Owen Barton and Josh Koehler) the
Toolbox for the iRobot Create which allows you to control your Roomba or
Create Robot from Matlab. We are now releasing Version 2.0 which
has some bug fixes and adds the ability to drive the Create
using a keyboard or GUI. The
page also has some links to other useful Matlab code I have
Computers in Education Journal: I recently
organized a Special Issue on Novel Approaches to Robotics
Education. For the past 3 years I have served as the editor-in-chief of the
Computers in Education Journal, a publication of the
American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). The
purpose of the journal is to provide a forum to share new
pedagogical approaches to using all facets of computing
(programming, software, hardware, embedded, etc.) in engineering
education. Please direct all submissions to ed-pub (at)
crosslink (dot) net .
Societies: I am part of the Secretary of
Defense's working group on Unmanned Systems Education at the
I am a member of the steering
NASA's Sample Return Centennial Challenge which will be
hosted at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. In the past I
have also organized an
invited session at ICRA 2008 on
cooperative manipulation. I was an Associate Editor
for IROS 2008.
Unmanned Ground Vehicle
Competition: I am the faculty adviser for Robo-Goat: the Naval Academy's entry into the AUVSI's
Intelligent Unmanned Ground
Vehicle Student Competition. Our First year at
the competition (2009) we won the Rookie of The Year Award!
In 2010 an 2011 we placed 10th out of 50 teams.
University Service: .
I am currently the Chair of the Division of Engineering's
curriculum committee and leading an effort to revamp the Systems
Engineering curriculum. I have also served on the Faculty Teaching and Service Award Committees,
our departmental coordinator for Undergraduate Research.
R. Alur, A. Das, J.M. Esposito, R. Fierro, Y. Hur,
G. Grudic, V. Kumar, I. Lee, J. P. Ostrowski, G. J. Pappas, J. Southall, J.
Spletzer, and C. Taylor “A framework and architecture for multi-robot
coordination.”, International Journal of Robotics Research, Vol. 21,
No.10-11, p. 977-995, Oct-Nov. 2002
K. A. McIsaac, A. K. Das, J.M.
Esposito, and James P. Ostrowski, “A hierarchical, modal
approach to hybrid systems control of autonomous robots”,
Proceedings of IEEE/RSJ Intl. Conf. On Intelligent Robots and
Systems, p1020-1025, v.2, November 2000
J.M. Esposito and V. Kumar,
“Closed loop motion plans for mobile robots”, Proceedings of the
IEEE Intl. Conf. On Robotics and Automation, p2777-2782, v 3,
Enhancements to Rapidly Exploring Random Trees with applications
J.W. Kim, J.M. Esposito and V.Kumar, “RRT
enhancements” International Journal of Robotics Research, Vol 15 Issue 12, p
1257-1272, Dec 2006
J.M. Esposito, G. Pappas, and V. Kumar, “Accurate
event detection for hybrid systems”, in Hybrid Systems: Computation and
Control (HSCC2001), Lecture Notes in Computer Science, volume 2034,
Springer, March 2001 p. 204-217.