Murphy invited speaker on robotics at NASEC 2014

Image of Dr. Murphy and Brennen TaylorDr. Robin R. Murphy and six Texas A&M University undergraduate engineering students participated in the 2014 U.S. Naval Academy Science and Engineering Conference held November 2-4 in Annapolis, Maryland. The conference brought together policy makers and science advisers with university faculty and students to discuss science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) issues and challenges. This year's student-run conference was titled "Robotics: New Solutions for a Changing World."

The first invited speaker in the Subject Matter Expert Presentations category was Murphy who presented "Robotic Cooperation, Remote Sensing, and Telepresence." Murphy is the Raytheon Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M. She directs the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue at the university. Her research interests include artificial intelligence, human-robot interaction, and heterogeneous teams of robots.

Murphy's talk gave an overview of intelligent robots illustrating lessons learned from inserting robots into 17 disasters. She divided them into two categories, robots we see and act through in real-time or ones we delegate tasks to. She emphasized that the goal for both categories is to create autonomous capabilities that make the robot useful for humans.

Brennen R. Taylor, one of the six undergraduate students selected to attend the NASEC conference is a sophomore in computer science and a member of the Parasol Lab's motion planning research group. His research interests include motion planning, computer graphics and interface design.

"Attending the conference was a great opportunity for me to learn about modern robotics research, especially where the navy hopes it will head," said Taylor. "I heard talks that ranged from professors speaking about their research, to the head of naval research, to even the vice president of Lockheed Martin. These talks all reinforced that the field of robotics is headed to a field with more autonomous systems. As I do research in motion planning, I feel like this direction will open many doors for the research area. All in all, it was a great experience and I am thankful I was able to go."

Of the five remaining engineering students, one is from aerospace engineering, two are from mechanical engineering and two are from engineering technology and industrial distribution.

"This was a wonderful opportunity for our students to be engaged in the dialogue about STEM," said Dr. Valerie E. Taylor, senior associate dean of academic affairs in the Dwight Look College of Engineering and the Regents Professor and Royce E. Wisenbaker Professor in the computer science and engineering department at Texas A&M.