IRIM Robotics Seminar—Cody Fleming of the University of Virginia

The Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines presents “Safety of Autonomous Systems: Challenges in Coordination, Consistency, and Integration” by Cody Fleming of the University of Virginia. 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.


Recent issues with the Boeing 737-MAX point to challenges in software engineering and the algorithms that the software must implement. However, the 737-MAX is a microcosm of several other problems that continue to arise in many applications of intelligent machines. There is a deep coupling between the underlying physics of a system, its various modes of actuation, and the many nested or parallel control systems that compose any complex robotic system. Many accidents – the speaker will claim all accidents – arise due to an inability to understand and then manage this coupling in a way that scales to complex systems. These issues become even more challenging with the rise and ubiquity of intelligent machines. This talk will begin by exploring these problems, with several relevant examples to the robotics community, including aviation, launch vehicle control systems, remotely operated spacecraft, and automated/autonomous vehicles. The talk will then present a general analytical framework for addressing these problems. Finally, the talk will conclude with several new directions in coordinated control of intelligent machines, with aeronautical, maritime, and ground transportation applications.


Cody Fleming is an assistant professor of Engineering Systems & Environment and Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at the University of Virginia and was previously a graduate student in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Broadly, Fleming is interested in system modeling, analysis, and verification of complex systems, particularly those with high levels of automation. He has investigated several next-generation air traffic management initiatives during the early concept formation stages, as well as safety assurance and algorithm development for driverless and connected vehicles.

Fleming’s related research interests lie in modern feedback control, dynamics, and model-based engineering. Before returning to get his doctorate at MIT, he worked for several years in the aerospace industry, developing active and passive controllers for large-scale systems: design, analysis, testing, integration, validation, and verification.

His research is currently sponsored by the NSF, NASA, Army, Northrop Grumman, and Aerospace Corp. He has won several best paper awards, including from INCOSE and IEEE SysCon, and he was recently recognized with University of Virginia’s highest honor for engineering education.

Event Details


  • Wednesday, April 10, 2019
    12:15 pm - 1:15 pm
Location: Marcus Nanotechnology Building, Rooms 1116-1118

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