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Introduction to Autonomous Mobile Robots

basic concepts and algorithms for locomotion, perception, and intelligent navigation.

About this Course

Robots are rapidly evolving from factory workhorses, which are physically bound to their work-cells, to increasingly complex machines capable of performing challenging tasks in our daily environment. The objective of this course is to provide the basic concepts and algorithms required to develop mobile robots that act autonomously in complex environments. The main emphasis is put on mobile robot locomotion and kinematics, environment perception, probabilistic map based localization and mapping, and motion planning. The lectures and exercises of this course introduce several types of robots such as wheeled robots, legged robots and drones.

This lecture closely follows the textbook Introduction to Autonomous Mobile Robots by Roland Siegwart, Illah Nourbakhsh, Davide Scaramuzza, The MIT Press, second edition 2011. All required readings are available within the courseware, courtesy of The MIT Press. A print version of the course textbook, Introduction to Autonomous Mobile Robots, is also available for purchase. The MIT Press is offering enrolled students a special 30% discount on books ordered directly through the publisher’s website. To take advantage of this offer, please use promotion code IAMR30 at The MIT Press site.

The course runs from June 15th, 2015 to January 31st, 2016. Grading in the course is derived from 10 problem sets and 2 quizzes.



Good basic mathematics, physics, system modeling, and control.


Grading and Evaluation

Grading in the course comes from 10 online problem sets and 2 quizzes. Together, the problem sets are worth 50% of your grade and each quiz is worth 25% of your grade. You will have the opportunity to drop one of the problem sets from your mark. A grade of 60% or higher will be considered a pass.


Course outline

Lecture no.TitleLecturerProblem set
1 Introduction and Lecture Overview R. Siegwart None
2 Legs and Kinematics M. Hutter Yes
3 Introduction to Wheeled Locomotion R. Siegwart Yes
4 Perception I D. Scaramuzza None
5 Perception II M. Bosse Yes
6 Perception III D. Scaramuzza Yes
7 Perception IV D. Scaramuzza Yes
8 Quiz 1 R. Dube, D. Bellicoso, M. Dymczyk  
9 Localization I M. Bosse Yes
10 Localization II R. Siegwart Yes
11 SLAM R. Siegwart Yes
12 Planning I M. Rufli Yes
13 Planning II M. Rufli Yes
14 Summary and Quiz 2 R. Siegwart  
  Quiz 2 R. Dube, D. Bellicoso, M. Dymczyk  

Optional Exercises

In addition to the graded content, this course offers 6 ungraded exercises in which students can write perception and planning software for a mobile robot that runs in simulation. The programming part is in Matlab or Octave and the simulation runs in the V-Rep simulator. Full instructions on how to get started are available on the exercises page.