September 22, 2017, Kam K. Leang, University of Utah

Friday, September 22, 2017 at 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM
8 St. Mary’s Street, PHO 211
Refreshments at 2:45pm


Kam K. Leang
The University of Utah

Autonomous Electronic Nose in Flight: Design, Control, and Motion Planning of Aerial Vehicles for Gas/Chemical Sensing 

Effective, fast, and efficient gas/chemical plume detection and source localization are important problems to solve following an accident or natural disaster event, where persisting toxic, flammable, radioactive, and dangerous chemical spills can cause harm to humans and physical infrastructure. Autonomous-robotics-based approaches can help put humans out of harm’s way, minimize damage, and lower recovery costs and time. This talk will focus on the design, control, and motion planning of multi-rotor aerial vehicles for applications in gas/chemical detection and source localization. Specifically, a model-based approach is described for designing the system for maximum flight time. Visual-servo-based trajectory tracking control and model-based automatic collision avoidance schemes are developed and implemented for flying through complex and GPS-denied environments. For source localization, concentration measurements and a particle-filter-probabilistic-based control approach are used to predict the location of a potential leak. Finally, to demonstrate the effectiveness of these approaches, simulation and experimental results are presented.

Kam K. Leang received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Utah in December 1997 and 1999, respectively, and the Ph.D. degree from the University of Washington in December 2004. He is an Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Utah, where he joined in July 2014. He is also affiliated with the University of Utah Robotics Center. Between 2008 and 2014, Dr. Leang was at the University of Nevada, Reno. While at the University of Nevada, Reno, he received the 2014 Nevada Board of Regent’s Rising Researcher Award. His research covers three main areas: (1) design and control of high-speed nanopositioning systems, (2) control and manufacturing of electroactive polymer actuators for soft robotics, and (3) design, motion planning, and control of mobile robotic systems with application in environmental monitoring. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Defense, Dept. of Energy, NASA, and industry. He was the Technical Editor for IEEE/ASME Trans. on Mechatronics, and he currently serves as an Associate Editor for IEEE Control Systems Magazine, Mechatronics journal (Elsevier), the International Journal of Intelligent Robotics and Applications (IJIRA), and Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering (Nature Publishing). More details about his research can be found at

Faculty Host: Sean Andersson
Student Host: Sean Sanchez