IRIM Robotics Seminar—Randal Beard

The Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines presents “Vision-Based Navigation and Tracking with Small UAVs” by Randal Beard of Brigham Young University. The event will be held in the Marcus Nanotechnology Building, Rooms 1116-1118, from 12:15-1:15 p.m. and is open to the public.


This talk will describe our current work on vision-based autonomous navigation and tracking using small UAVs and provide an overview of two on-going projects. The first project is relative navigation in GPS degraded environments. There are many applications where GPS is either restricted or denied. We have developed an architecture that uses a relative front end to navigate relative to key frames, and then opportunistically uses GPS measurements and SLAM-style loop closures in a back-end process to provide global context. We will show some recent flight results that demonstrate robustness to GPS failure and degradation. The second project we will discuss is robust tracking of multiple ground-based targets from an airborne platform. We will present a new multiple target tracking algorithm that is based on the random sample consensus (RANSAC) algorithm widely used in computer vision. A recursive version of the RANSAC algorithm will be discussed, and its extension to tracking multiple dynamic objects will be explained. The performance of R-RANSAC will be compared to state of the art target tracking algorithms in the context of problems that are relevant to UAV applications.


Randal W. Beard received a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City in 1991, an M.S. degree in electrical engineering in 1993, an M.S. degree in mathematics in 1994, and a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering in 1995, all from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 

Since 1996, Beard has worked in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where he is currently a professor. In 1997 and 1998, he was a Summer Faculty Fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif. In 2006 and 2007, he was a visiting research fellow at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Munitions Directorate at Eglin AFB in Florida. 

Beard's primary research focus is autonomous control of small air vehicles and multivehicle coordination and control. He is a past associate editor for the IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, the IEEE Control Systems Magazine, and the Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems. He is a fellow of the IEEE and an associate fellow of AIAA.

Event Details


  • Wednesday, November 1, 2017
    12:15 pm - 1:15 pm
Location: Marcus Nano Bldg., Rooms 1116-1118

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