Wei Zhang
Title:  Control and Learning for Legged Locomotion

Abstract: Legged robots (i.e. humanoid, quadruped, etc) have attracted considerable attention from both academia and industry recently, owing to their superior ability of traversing complex terrains as compared with wheeled mobile robots. They are well suited for applications such as surveillance and monitoring in cluttered environments, search and rescue, last-mile delivery and logistics, among others. With recent progress in high-performance actuators, the hardware design of legged robot becomes relatively mature, while perceptive locomotion control algorithms still present significant challenges, preventing widespread deployment of legged robots in real-world applications. This talk will present recent developments in legged robots from both academic and industrial perspectives. Key research challenges in legged locomotion control will be identified. Both model-based and learning-based planning and control methods will be introduced, and their fundamental connections will be discussed. The results will be presented along with various experimental validations based on commercial platforms as well as legged robots custom designed and built by our lab.

Biography: Wei Zhang received a B.E. in Automation from the University of Science and Technology of China in 2003, and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University in 2009. From January 2010 to August 2011, he was a Postdoctoral Researcher in the EECS Department at UC Berkeley. He served as an Assistant Professor and then an Associate Professor (with tenure) of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Ohio State University. In May 2019, he joined the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), Shenzhen, China, where he is currently a Professor in the SUSTech Institute of Robotics and the School of System Design and Intelligent Manufacturing. His current research focuses on control and learning theory for robotic systems. Dr. Zhang is a recipient of the NSF CAREER award and the Lumley Research Award at the Ohio State University. He served as an Editor of IEEE Transactions on Power Systems between 2015-2017. He is currently a Senior Member of IEEE, an Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Control System Technology, and a Senior Editor of IEEE Open Journal of Control Systems.