Dynamics & Control of Robots Moving on Earth & Space
Speaker: Dr. Evangelos Papadopoulos, Professor Department of Mechanical Engineering National Technical University of Athens
Date: 18 December 2015 Time: 14.30-16.00
Location: "Stelios Orphanoudakis" Seminar Room, FORTH, Heraklion, Crete
Host: Prof. Trahanias, Panos


The impact of robots is changing fast, as these leave confined spaces and fixed bases, and move in environments such as rough terrain or space orbits. For such robots, dynamics and control play a critical role in their stability and performance.

This talk will focus on aspects of our work in legged robots for the Earth and the planets, and in orbital space robotics. Both share characteristics, such as coupled and complex dynamics, nonholonomic behavior, and under-actuation, making their planning and control very demanding.

On-orbit servicing tasks such as robotic refuelling, berthing/docking and capture are challenging due to the lack of fixed bases and gravitational loading, and extreme dynamic coupling. Planetary exploration requires controlled mobility that can be provided by wheels or legs. Locomotion challenges include low gravity conditions of terrestrial bodies such as the moon or Mars, and harsh or even extreme terrains.

Challenges are tackled by studies and experiments. The lack of access to actual space conditions is addressed by careful modelling and control, and zero-gravity emulators. On the other hand, legged robots can hop/walk/run on a treadmill. Pertinent analysis and experiments will be discussed and results will be presented.


Evangelos Papadopoulos received a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, (NTUA), Greece, in 1981, and subsequently a M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1985 to 1987 he was a researcher with the Greek Navy Research and Technology Office. Prior to this he was a research assistant at the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS), and the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity (LMP) at MIT. He then continued his graduate
studies at MIT and received a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, in 1990. His thesis topic was in Space Robotics. In 1991 he was appointed a Lecturer at MIT. Subsequently he joined McGill
University, Montreal, Canada as an Assistant Professor, in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and as a member of the Centre for Intelligent Machines (CIM). He joined the NTUA in 1997, where he is currently a Professor of Mechanical Engineering. From 1997 to 2004 he was also an Adjunct Professor at McGill. He teaches courses in Robotics, Controls, Mechatronics, Circuits and Systems, and Electromechanical Systems.

Dr. Papadopoulos is a senior member of the IEEE and of the AIAA, and a member of the ASME, the IFToMM, and the Technical Chamber of Greece. He has been elected a member of the  Sigma Xi. He serves as an Associate Editor of the Mechanism and Machine Theory journal, of the ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control, and of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters. He has served as an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics and as a Guest Editor for the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Μechatronics, Advances in Robot Dynamics and Control. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Athens, Greece, and serves as a consultant to industry. He has given invited lectures in both academia and  industry.

Dr. Papadopoulos conducts research in the areas of robotics including field, underwater and space robotics, microrobotics, legged robots, mechatronics, haptic devices, simulators, design, and applied control, with funding from national, European, Canadian and industrial sources. He is author or co-author of more than 250 technical papers, which have been presented in refereed International Conferences or published in refereed International Journals. He is also the author of two books in Greek, namely, “Introduction to Electrical Circuits and Systems,” and “Electromechanical Systems” and the co-author of “Robotic Systems,” also in Greek.

More information at the site
Prof. Evangelos Papadopoulos
Control Systems Laboratory
Department of Mechanical Engineering
National Technical University of Athens
9 Heroon Polytechniou
15780 Athens, Greece
Tel. +30-210-772-1440
Fax +30-210-772-1455
email: egpapado@central.ntua.gr

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