CSE525: Introduction to Robotics

Spring 2015, Tue Thu 11.30-12.50, Location: Melville Library E4315
Instructor: Minh Hoai Nguyen, CS 2424, Phone: 631-632-8460
Office hour: Tue 5-6pm, Thu 4-6pm


This hands-on course introduces the basic concepts in robotics, focusing on mobile robots and illustrations of current state of the art research and applications. Course information will be tied to lab experiments; students will work in teams to build and test mobile robots. The basic concepts that will be discussed include coordinate transformations, visual perception, sensors, path planning, kinematics, feedback and feedforward control. These topics will be exemplified with several robotics platforms including TurtleBot, Parrot AR Drone, Lego Mindstorm, and Intel Galileo. The last part of the course will focus on applying the knowledge from the initial lectures to the key approaches to mobile robot control (reactive, behavior-based, and hybrid), and briefly discuss robot learning and multi-robot systems. In the lab, robot kits will be used in weekly exercises illustrating lecture material; the last month of the lab will be spent in applying the learned material to a final project, in which the students will design and build a robot for a final competition. This course is intended for graduate students with interests in robotics, perception, and AI.


  • Foundation in Linear Algebra, Probability, and Calculus.

  • The ability to program, preferably in Python/C/C++.

Topics (tentative)

  • Week 1. Introduction, a brief history of robotics

  • Week 2. Sensing and sensors

  • Week 3. Quiz 1. Visual processing, computer vision techniques

  • Week 4. Probabilistic robotics

  • Week 5. Localization and mapping

  • Week 6. Quiz 2. Mobile platforms

  • Week 7. Path planning

  • Week 8. Review and midterm

  • Week 9. Effectors and Actuators

  • Week 10. Manipulation. Direct Kinematics

  • Week 11. Quiz 3. Dynamics. Inverse Kinemetics

  • Week 12. Feedback control

  • Week 13. Behavior-based control

  • Week 14. Group robotics

  • Week 15. Final projects


There will be homeworks, a final project, 3 in class 30 min quizzes and a midterm exam.

  • Homeworks will be 35%

  • Project 30%

  • Exams 35%.

Weights are approximate and subject to change. You are expected to do homeworks by yourselves. Even if you discuss them with your classmates, you should turn in your own code and write-up. Final projects can be done by one or two people. Two people projects will be scaled accordingly. You can have one sheet of paper with notes in the midterm and quizes.

Recommended textbooks

  • Probabilistic Robotics. S, Thrun et al. MIT Press 2005.

  • Introduction to robotics. J.J. Craig. Prentice Hall, 3ed, 2003.

Academic misconduct policy:

Don't cheat. Cheating on anything will be dealt with as academic misconduct and handled accordingly. I won't spend a lot of time trying to decide if you actually cheated. If I think cheating might have occurred, then evidence will be forwarded to the University's Academic Misconduct Committee and they will decide. If cheating has occurred, an F grade will be awarded. Discussion of assignments and projects is acceptable, but you must do your own work. Near duplicate assignments will be considered cheating unless the assignment was restrictive enough to justify such similarities in independent work. Just think of it that way: Cheating impedes learning and having fun. The labs are meant to give you an opportunity to really understand the class material. Please also note that opportunity makes thieves: It is your responsibility to protect your work and to ensure that it is not turned in by anyone else. No excuses!

Disability note:

If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may impact on your ability to carry out assigned course work, I would urge that you contact the staff in the Disabled Student Services office (DSS), Room 133 Humanities, 632-6748/TDD. DSS will review your concerns and determine, with you, what accommodations are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation of disability is confidential.