Faculty
photo of Mitch Pryor

PI - Dr. Pryor is a Research Scientist and Lecturer for the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. (Full CV)

photo of Sheldon Landsberger

Professor
Mechanical Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering
co-PI - Nuclear Robotics Group (nuclear), Texas Atomic Energy Research Foundation Professorship, Mechanical Engineering

Postdocs and Research Engineers
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Robert Blake Anderson joined the NRG in 2013, after a period of work in the commercial nuclear industry. His nuclear background is in the commercial grade dedication and environmental qualification of power station equipment. He obtained his masters degree in 2015 and his Ph.D in 2020, with a research focus on mobile autonomous inventory, inspection, and radiation surveying in nuclear facilities. Blake now works in the NRG as a post-doctoral fellow.

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Postdoc

Can received his BSc in Mechanical Engineering from the Middle East Technical University and his MSc and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. His research interest is trajectory optimization for UAVs and Directional Drilling.

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Research Engineer

Chris Suarez graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 2014. After working industry as a systems engineer for 2 years, he joined NRG in the Fall of 2016. He received his MS in 2019 focusing on 3D obstacle detection for highly complex ground vehicles in hazardous environments. Currently, he is a full-time research engineer working on mobile autonomous platforms for the Army Futures Command.

Graduate Students

Adam Allevato joined the NRG in Fall 2014 after graduating with his Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Colorado State University. His research focuses on processing 3D point cloud data and using it to perform a variety of remote manipulation tasks.

Photo of Adam Pettinger

Adam graduated from the University of Texas with a B.S in Mechanical Engineering in the Spring of 2017. He joined NRG in his last semester as an undergrad and continued with the lab while working on his Masters, which he finished in the Spring of 2019. Adam continues to support NRG research involving manipulation and compliant/contact tasks.

Matthew Horn received a Mechanical Engineering degree Cum Laude from Rice University. Matt joined the NRG in early July 2014 and graduated with his M.S.E with a certification in Robotics in May 2017. His previous research involves grasp planning in hazardous environments with hazardous materials and supporting several other projects that involve object manipulation or contact tasks. His current research involves handling hazardous materials between autonomous agents.

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Nick Hashem completed his Bachelor's degree in Physics at the University of Texas at Austin. Nick joined the NRG in the Summer of 2016. His research focuses on investigating the principles of neutron radiography and robotic systems for use in non-destructive testing applications. This also includes examining methods to determine the quality of these radiographic images.

Meredith completed her undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in the spring of 2015. She joined the NRG group in the summer of 2015 to lead a research project with a team of undergraduates. Her ongoing research involves task planning and execution for autonomous mobile systems in hazardous environments.

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Selma Wanna joined NRG as an undergraduate research assistant during the summer of 2015. She graduated with her Bachelors of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering the summer of 2017 and joined NRG as a graduate student that fall. Her research is focused semantic parsing using statistical and machine learned methods to map natural language to meaning representations. Selma has worked on over 10 robots and robotics projects since she became a member of the University of Texas's Robotics and Automation Society. Her favorite fictional robot is K2SO and her favorite real robot is Kuri.

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Srinath completed his undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras and his Masters at Purdue University. After working in the industry for 2 years, he joined NRG in the Fall of 2019. His research focuses on motion planning and in designing flight control systems for autonomous navigation.

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Adrian Abeyta completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering at The University of New Mexico during the Spring of 2019. Before joining the Nuclear Robotics Group in the Fall of 2019, Adrian worked as a research student at Los Alamos National Laboratory. His research will focus on task planning and execution for autonomous mobile systems in hazardous environments.

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Cassidy Elliott graduated with her undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Alabama in May of 2018. Her interest in exploring the applications of robotics in the defense industry led her to join the NRG. Her research focuses on improving mobile manipulation using affordance templates. Cassidy spent her summer working at Woodside Energy in Perth, Western Australia in support of her research.

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Connor completed his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at Texas Tech University in the fall of 2015. He took a Design Engineer position with Lockheed Martin after graduation, where he worked on the F-16 retrofit team. After spending over a year on that aircraft, he transitioned to the Skunk Works organization, where he served as a research/manufacturing engineering on the Dream Chaser Cargo System team. He spent time as a structural design engineer on a classified program and took a stretch assignment as a multi-discipline design tools programmer before electing to return to graduate school in the fall of 2019. He is currently the lead engineer on the development and test of a compact, robotic vehicle, whose mission is to inspect primary and secondary seals of floating-roof petroleum tanks.

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Jack completed his undergraduate degree in Petroleum Engineering at The University of Oklahoma in 2018. He joined the NRG in January of 2019 to execute a research project with partners in the Downstream Oil&Gas industry to automate hazardous process tasks. In addition to his academic record, he has internship experience in the Oil&Gas industry and at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Ongoing research interests include path planning and industrial automation.

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John holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and an M.S. in Astronautical Engineering, both from the University of Southern California. After working in the aerospace industry, he joined NRG in Fall 2017. His research interests include human-robot interaction and the development of verbal & gestural robotic interfaces. He is also a UH-60 Blackhawk pilot in the US Army Reserve at Fort Hood, Texas.

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Mark Jennings received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from UT in May 2019. He is now pursuing a master's degree, specializing in dynamic systems and controls. His research at NRG includes collaborative manufacturing and robotic manipulation.

Undergraduate Students
Photo of Ceanna Ruehle

Ceanna joined the lab as an undergraduate research assistant in summer 2020. She is getting her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with a focus on aerospace and a certificate in marine science. She is working on the AFC project.

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Conner is an undergraduate mechanical engineering student. He joined the lab as a research assistant in Fall 2017. He predominantly works with on CAD and mechatronics projects and is the lab's self proclaimed 3D printer whisperer.

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Pete is an undergraduate studying electrical and computer engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He works on 10G networking and virtual reality teleportation for the Vaultbot/Ripley project. In his free time he enjoys swimming and restoring vintage computers and computer accessories.

Pragna is a third year Electrical and Computer Engineering student at UT Austin. She joined the NRG in Spring 2018. She has worked on the TurtleBot and the Universal Robots UR3 arm, as well as various other projects in the lab. She is interested in exploring the world of autonomous driving and applications of robotics in defense.

Photo of Vikram Ramanathan

Vikram Ramanathan joined NRG in Fall 2018. He is a mechanical engineering undergraduate student here at UT who works on control and path planning for Scrat, our wheeled mobile robot platform.

Alumni

Postdoc and PhD - Andy came to the Nuclear Robotics Group as a Master's student in 2011, and finished his PhD working for NRG. He also worked in a postdoc position at the NRG lab until August 2019. His primary research interests were compliant control, grasping, and machine learning. His research focused on safer, more delicate manipulation with rigid industrial robots. He now works for PickNik Robotics Software Consultants.

PhD - Joseph's interests lied in the design and operation of dynamically-deployed robotic systems for use in confined, hazardous environments. His PhD, completed in 2015, focused on performing neutron radiography using robots for part manipulation.

PhD - Brian completed his PhD in February 2013 titled, "Object recognition and pose estimation for nuclear manipulation in nuclear materials handling applications," in which he developed a new cylindrical histogram method using 3D point clouds to recognize and locate specularly reflective objects in a specularly reflective environment (i.e. shiny metal objects in a metal glovebox). Brian continued at U.T. Austin as post doctorate until he accepted a position at LANL in August, 2013.

PhD - Kyle Schroeder completed his PhD in July, 2013 with his dissertation entitled "Requirements for effective collision detection on industrial serial manipulators." After working for 2 years as a full-time student affiliate at LANL, he moved to Arizona where he is studying volitional control and feedback of robotic prosthetic devices as a post doctoral research candidate in the Human Machine Integration Laboratory at Arizona State University. He is also researching and developing powered prosthetic ankles at SpringActive (www.springactive.com).

PhD - Andrew Sharp completed his undergraduate studies in Mechanical Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology in the spring of 2013 and became part of the the NRG team in the fall of 2013. He started his time at the NRG working on the integration of the newly acquired VaultBot platform. His PhD research focused on levels of autonomy and the use of virtual fixtures for augmented teleoperation of industrial systems. Virtual fixturing can be used to impose software limits on the robot workspace in a similar manner to a hardware jig. Andrew graduated with his PhD in May of 2019 and now works at NASA JSC in Houston, Texas.

MS - Ben Ebersole completed his undergraduate studies in Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University and joined the NRG team in Spring of 2014. His research is part of a collaborative effort to develop a mobile manipulator system which can survey, place, and retrieve items within a specified hazardous environment, with a particular focus on the autonomous navigation of its vehicular base. He has graduated from the program December 2016 with an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering in the Nuclear & Radiation Engineering program.

MS - Lucas Gallegos completed his Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering during the Spring of 2017 at The University of New Mexico. Before joining the Nuclear Robotics Group, he worked as a research student at Los Alamos National Laboratory for four summers while he completed his undergraduate studies. His research at UT focued on automation applications involving a 6 degree of freedom Stewart Platform.

MS - Conor graduated from UT Austin with a bachelors in Mechanical Engineering in spring 2016, and then joined the NRG to pursue his Masters. His research focused on perception and the user interface for a robot performing remote inspections in a hazardous environment. 

MS - Christina Petlowany graduated with an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rice University in 2016. Her main interest was control systems and hardware design for extreme environments. Her research focused on the control plan for a robotic manipulator.

MS - Clinton Peterson joined the Nuclear Robotics Group in Fall 2013 after receiving a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas. As an undergraduate he worked as a research assistant at the Nuclear Engineering Teaching Laboratory. His work consisted of fabricating a material reduction device for the disassembly of used plutonium pits. In 2015, Clinton received his Masters degree and became a full-time employee at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He enjoys bass guitar, weight lifting, and burritos.

MS - Nitish completed his undergraduate studies in Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and he joined NRG in Fall 2017. His research focused on compliant control and transition from perception-based control to contact-based control.

MS - Alex von Sternberg graduated from The University of Texas in 2012 with his Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. He then went to work at Johnson Space Center for L-3 Communications where he wrote C++ simulation models of systems on the International Space Station. He joined NRG in the Fall of 2014, where he researches compliant control of industrial robots. Alex Completed his Masters in May, 2016 and accepted a full-time position at Los Alamos National Labs.

MS - Jack's research focused on redesigning the human-robot interface to facilitate intuitive teleoperation of an anthropomorphic dual arm robot. In 2014, Jack received his Masters degree from NRG. He is now a PhD student at UT Austin, studying under Dr. Maruthi Akella.

URA - John Elson worked at NRG while an undergraduate student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He worked on optimizing object recognition software by collecting data with different sensors, and comparing the sensors' relative recognition abilities.

URA - Alex supported Dr. Pryor and graduate students in the development of robotic arms and their associated software to be used in the manipulation of nuclear materials inside a glove box. She worked with the then new Microsoft Kinect, designing and conducting tests to determine the accuracy of the device as a cost-effective sensor to locate and potentially identify objects within the constraints of the glove box containing nuclear materials. Alex currently works in the Washington DC area.

URA - Thomas Lu joined NRG in Fall 2014 as an undergraduate student at the University of Texas. He assisted in research focusing on 3D point cloud data processing. He enjoys listening to classical music and browsing StackExchange.

URA - Nathan worked for NRG while pursuing his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering here at UT. He participated in his high school's FIRST Robotics team where he was the lead programer for two seasons. In the NRG, Nathan took the lead in developing 3D point cloud vision techniques for scanning a room in order to determine if items were added or removed from a storage facility.

URA - Tiffany Yang worked with the lab while she was a sophomore in Mechanical Engineering. She worked with object recognition software to collect a database of 3D point cloud images and using it to train sensors to identify those objects in an effort to make robots more autonomous.