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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 19th, 2017 to January 31st, 2018. Grading in the course is derived from 9 problem sets and 2 quizzes.



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


Grading and Evaluation

Grading in the course comes from 9 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 Motivation R. Siegwart None
2 Locomotion Concepts R. Siegwart Optional
3 Mobile Robots Kinematics R. Siegwart Yes
4 Perception I R. Siegwart None
5 Perception II M. Chli Yes
6 Perception III M. Chli Yes
7 Perception IV M. Chli Yes
8 Localization I R. Siegwart Yes
9 Localization II R. Siegwart Yes
10 SLAM I M. Chli None
11 SLAM II M. Chli Yes
12 Planning I M. Rufli Yes
13 Planning II M. Rufli Yes
14 Summary R. Siegwart None

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.