Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC)

Priority: No
College Calendar: Show

Calendar of Interest for J1 Scholars

TBD - Welcome to Purdue and Tours

September 1, 2021 (6-7:00 PM Online) - Fall Graduate Workshop Series - Application Tips

September 8, 2021 (6-7:00 PM Online) - Fall Graduate Workshop Series - Graduate School Funding

September 27, 2021 - Purdue Grad Expo & Midwest Summit  (more info to follow)

October 3-4, 2021 - Purdue Engineering Virtual Graduate Showcase

Short-term Projects

The following short-term projects are proposed by Purdue Engineering faculty members for the IAC J1 scholars who are interested in participating during their time in the U.S.  Project details and efforts needed can be discussed with individual faculty members.  Please contact Ms. Rhonda Haan ( with the project/faculty that you are interested in.

In addition to these short-term projects, we are also organizing campus and laboratory tours for the IAC J1 scholars with more details to follow.  

Professor Ran Dai (AAE)

Numerical optimization for control of autonomous systems, origami inspired robots

 I am interested in hosting international students in the following two areas:

  1. Numerical optimization, including convex and nonconvex algorithm development, with applications to optimal control of autonomous systems.
  2. Origami-inspired transformable robots.

For area 1, students are expected to have programming experience in optimization or optimal control. The enrolled students will be involved in either numerical algorithm development or implementation. For area 2, students are expected to have experience in the design and control of robotic systems. The enrolled students will be involved in testing and manufacturing the origami-inspired robots.  For each area, I can host one student.

Professor Neera Jain (ME)

Real-time control for adaptive trust calibration in human-autonomy interactions

It is well-established that cognitive factors, including the human’s trust and workload, affect decision-making and performance during interactions with autonomous systems.  Given this, adaptive automation, in which an autonomous system is able to sense and respond to changes in various cognitive factors, holds promise for mitigating pitfalls associated with human misuse, disuse, and abuse of automation. However, accurately “sensing” the cognitive state of the human and contextually “responding” via visual, auditory, and/or tactile sensory communication, remains a challenge for effective human-automation teaming. The objective of this research project is to exploit heterogeneous human data types (e.g., behavioral, psychophysiological, and self-report) for the purpose of designing real-time control strategies for adaptive and multimodal transparency that account for trust in automation, situational awareness, and workload within human-machine teaming contexts. Students with skills in signal processing and analysis, data-based modeling, and optimization are invited to participate.

Professor James Goppert (AAE)

Algorithms for safe trajectory planning for urban air mobility, implementation at the Purdue UAS Research and Test Facility

For the NASA ULI project, Safe and Secure, Assured Autonomy, we are developing algorithms for safe trajectory planning for urban air mobility. We are testing these algorithms in the Purdue UAS Research and Test facility (PURT) (, the largest indoor motion capture facility in the world. The motion capture system provides ground truth and sensor emulation such as GPS and onboard cameras for a small scale city that we have constructed in PURT. The Gazebo simulator is tied to the data from the motion capture system to provide virtual camera views for vehicles in the city with minimal latency. This allows for a mixed reality experimental setup that is useful in transitioning research concepts from the prototyping stage to deployment. One or two students would be able to contribute either to the vehicle hardware, embedded systems, and algorithm software deployment (ROS, Gazebo, C++, python), or to the mathematical study of the algorithms, focusing on control systems, Lie Group theory, Lyapunov functions, model checking, and reachable set calculation.

Professor Shreyas Sundaram (ECE)

Robotic swarm algorithm development and implementation in a swarm simulator

Robotic swarms have a significant potential to revolutionize how we tackle challenges such as search-and-rescue, exploration, construction, and defense.  However, there are still many technical hurdles to overcome before such swarms become a reality.  One of these hurdles is to develop effective algorithms that enable the swarms to cooperatively achieve their missions, accounting for heterogeneity and decentralized information gathering.  As part of this project, the goal will be to implement (and improve) swarm algorithms for common missions, such as search-and-rescue, in a swarm simulator based on AirSim.  The project would be appropriate for 1 or 2 students.  Familiarity with AirSim, Unreal Engine, and distributed algorithms for robotic systems would be desirable. 

Professor Nina Mahmoudian (ME)

Professor Mo Rastgaar (Purdue Poly)

Persistent Autonomous Surface Vehicle

The end goal is to create an Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) equipped with Solar Panels and long duration tests to show the battery state of charge over several hours. Currently a team is working on this project.

Tasks: The student will work with other team members to develop, assemble, and test an ASV capable of operating robustly for prolonged periods of time. This involves the sourcing and assembly of solar panels, component selection and electrical circuit design for sensing of robotic energy expenditure and energy production and optimizing vehicle actuation speed with respect to vehicle energy expenditure. The student will be involved with field deployments and testing of the designed system with the goal of continuous vehicle operation for 12 consecutive hours.

Desired Qualifications: Programming, Electrical Engineering basics, Control and System Design

Professor Nina Mahmoudian (ME)

Professor Mo Rastgaar (Purdue Poly)

Long-term Coordinated Hovering and Recharging Mission  

Multi-robot systems including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being used in a variety of applications such as search and rescue, surveillance, crop monitoring, and firefighting. In all these cases, the robots must be given a mission plan according to the mission's goals, obstacles, disturbances, and constraints.

Tasks: The students will work with other team members on simulation, programming, and deployment of UAVs to detect objects and coordinate with ground or surface vehicles to accomplish assigned tasks.

Desired Qualifications: Programming, Electrical Engineering basics, Control and System Design

Professor Richard Voyles

Robotic Mechanisms for Remote Sensing Applications 

I’m looking for students with electoral, mechanical and software engineering backgrounds to develop novel robotic mechanisms for remote sensing applications. We develop various forms of hard and soft robots for such applications as subterranean crawlers to deploy sensors in drain tile (corrugated pipe) for sensing of gases and liquids and, potentially, for soil boring to examine the soil microbiome. We also develop flying UAVs, both battery powered and 100% solar powered for sensor deployment.

Protect Purdue