Skip to content

2021 Korybalski Lecture: Vijay Kumar


U-M ME is pleased to welcome Vijay Kumar, the Nemirovsky Family Dean of Penn Engineering, as the 2021 Michael Korybalski Distinguished Lecturer.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan will welcome Vijay Kumar, the Nemirovsky Family Dean of Penn Engineering, as the speaker for the 13th Annual Michael Korybalski Distinguished Lecture in Mechanical Engineering. The lecture, titled “Swarms of Small, Flying Robots,” will take place on Friday, November 5, 2021, at 4  p.m. in the Chesebrough Auditorium located in the Chrysler Center on North Campus (2121 Bonisteel Blvd, Ann Arbor, MI 48109). The lecture will be followed by a reception outside the auditorium with light refreshments.

The last decade has seen rapid advances in computation, sensing, and communication, leading to new opportunities for aerial robotics. Dr. Kumar will describe our recent work on developing small, autonomous flying robots in complex, GPS-denied environments, with applications to precision agriculture, first response, and mining. Nature provides many examples of collective behaviors where swarms exhibit capabilities well beyond those individuals. He will discuss the challenges in creating flying robot swarms, and his research on perception-action-communication feedback loops to enable collective behaviors.

Vijay Kumar is the Nemirovsky Family Dean of Penn Engineering with appointments in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, Computer and Information Science, and Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his Bachelor of Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and his Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in 1987. He has been on the Faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania since 1987.

In addition to holding many administrative positions at Penn, Kumar has served as the assistant director of robotics and cyber-physical systems at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (2012 – 2013). His lab has spun off many startups in robotics – he is the founder of Exyn Technologies and serves on the boards of Treeswift, IQ Motion Control, WeRobotics, and O2Micro. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).

Dr. Kumar has won best paper awards at DARS 2002, ICRA 2004, ICRA 2011, RSS 2011, RSS 2013, ICRA 2014, BICT 2015, and MARSS 2016 and has advised doctoral students who have won Best Student Paper Awards at ICRA 2008, RSS 2009, and DARS 2010. He is the recipient of the 2012 ASME Mechanisms and Robotics Award, the 2012 IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Distinguished Service Award, a 2012 World Technology Network ( award, a 2013 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award, a 2014 Engelberger Robotics Award, the 2017 IEEE Robotics, and Automation Society George Saridis Leadership Award, the 2017 ASME Robert E. Abbott Award, the 2018 IEEE Robotics, and Automation Pioneer Award, and the 2020 IEEE Robotics and Automation Field Award. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2013, the American Philosophical Society in 2018, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2021.

Story tags