KAUST Research Conference on Robotics and Autonomy 2021

The KAUST Research Conference on Robotics and Autonomy 2021 brought together leading international and in-Kingdom robotics researchers and government and industry representatives from the robotics industry to discuss robotics and its applications.” To “The KAUST Research Conference on Robotics and Autonomy 2021 brought together leading international and in-Kingdom robotics researchers and government and industry representatives from the robotics industry to discuss robotics and its applications.

Conference topics include: research on foundational robotics topics, planning and learning, locomotion, assured autonomy, human-robot interaction, swarm robotics, and the application areas of modern robotics, such as urban mobility, agriculture, marine, wearable robotics.

For several decades, robotic systems have been widely adopted in manufacturing, particularly in the execution of tasks not suited to humans because of their repetitive, unpleasant, or hazardous nature. Typically, manufacturing robotic applications are controlled, structured, and isolated from humans, allowing for efficient and highly reliable automation.

Another long-standing area of robotic applications is unmanned vehicles (rovers, drones, etc.) for civilian or military use in hostile and dangerous environments, like space and the deep sea. Although these applications involve unstructured environments, unmanned vehicles are typically remotely operated by humans and require limited to no autonomy.

Enabled by advances in computation, sensing, materials, energy efficiency, and communication, robots are now being deployed in unstructured and dynamic environments, with close proximity to humans and with higher levels of autonomy. As noted by the NSF National Robotics Initiative 2.0 call [NSF2019], we are entering an era of “ubiquity, which in this context means seamless integration of co-robots to assist humans in every aspect of life.”


Watch video recordings of the KAUST Research Conference on

Robotics and Autonomy 2021

Marine Robotics

Challenges in Marine Autonomy

Prof. Stefan Williams

Head of School of Aerospace, Mechanical, and Mechatronic Engineering, The University of Sydney

Enhancing visibility for reliable underwater visual SLAM

Prof. Ayoung Kim

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, KAIST

Trajectory planning in uncertain transient currents: a stochastic optimization approach

Dr. Ricardo Lima

Research Scientist, CEMSE, KAUST

Using drones, fluid lensing, and network analysis to get a more comprehensive view of coral reef mapping in the Red Sea

Ms. Colleen Campbell

Ph.D. Student, KAUST


Human Robot Interactions


Aerospace Robotics

Safe learning and control with L1 adaptation

Prof. Naira Hovakimyan

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Dynamic Explorations of a TiltWing Aircraft Transitioning from Conventional to Hovering Flight

Prof. John Hauser 
(& Dr. Jacob Cook)

University of Colorado Boulder

Xwing: the journey to deploying autonomous cargo aircraft

Dr. Maxime Gariel


Optimization-Based Control of Autonomous Aerospace Systems

Prof. Behcet Acikmese

University of Washington

Autonomous Vision-Based Navigation and Control for Robotic Space Objects

Prof. Hesham Shageer



Wearable Robotics and Microrobotics

Designing And Modelling Soft Active Artificial Muscles “Geometric and Material Nonlinearities

Ms. Marwa Eldiwiny


An Egocentric Wearable Camera for Assistive Technologies

Prof. Mohammed Kutbi

Saudi Electronic University

The challenging path to creating fully autonomous and controllable microrobots

Prof. Nestor Perez

University of Southern California


Assured Autonomy

Efficient Reachability for Safe Autonomous Systems: A Mixed Monotone Approach

Prof. Samuel Coogan

Georgia Institute of Technology

Certification of Autonomous Vehicles: A Regulator-Oriented Approach

Prof. Huan Mumu Xu

University of Maryland

Safe, Interaction-Aware Decision Making and Control for Robot Autonomy

Prof. Marco Pavone

Stanford University

Safe autonomy with imperfect information

Prof. Necmiye Ozay

University of Michigan




Wednesday, March 31st, 2021

Marine Robotics


Human Robot Interactions

Aerospace Robotics

Thursday, April 1st, 2021

Mobile Robotics

Wearable Robotics and Microrobotics


Assured Autonomy

Arabian Standard Time (UTC 3+)