My interests in robotics and autonomous systems originates from the period when I worked as a summer intern at Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (2014). During the tenure, I worked on “Indoor Navigating Office Robot”, where the objective of the robot was to safely move towards the goal using its wheel and visual odometry data.Since then, I have developed a proclivity for autonomous systems. Ten years from now, I envision myself as an experienced research professional in the field of Robotics and Autonomous Systems. It is my belief that a Ph.D.
is a crucial step in achieving this objective. I am a second year Erasmus Mundus Master’s student of Computer Vision and Robotics at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh and I wish to utilize my knowledge in computer vision, deep learning, control theory and mobile robotics to play a significant role in improving autonomous systems both regarding the technical aspects as well as the necessary public discussion. I would like to leverage vision based end-to-end learning framework and data fusion to solve the problem of scene understanding, localization and navigation for autonomous driving. My fascination with robotics and interest in autonomous vehicles, motivates me to apply to the Texas A University for admission into a Ph.
D. program in Mechanical Engineering to become a thought leader in computer vision and robotics by devoting my full attention to research. Since my childhood, I have been particularly fascinated by the subject of numbers, Mathematics. Being the language of Physical Science, it helped me gain interest even in Physics. Excellent understanding in each of these subjects helped me secure admission into the UG program in Electrical and Electronics Engineering at NIT Nagpur-one of the top 20 engineering schools in India. Rigorous coursework, projects, and internships during the undergraduate curriculum developed in me a great interest in subjects like robotics, control systems, signal and image processing. My determined attitude, analytical approach and good academic grades helped me secure an abroad research internship at Institut Pascal robotics lab (ISPR), Clermont-Ferrand (France) on autonomous navigation and obstacle avoidance of autonomous vehicle (VipaLab), under the able guidance of Dr.
RolandChapuis. The project involved analysis of existing path-following algorithms and implementation of optimizedpure-pursuit algorithm for smooth tracking of the vehicle. This project was a good opportunity to helpme understand the dynamics of working in a research team abroad. Working under the supervision ofProf. Chapuis fueled my interest in pursuing a research career.
After graduating from NIT Nagpur, I joined Erasmus Mundus Master’s programin Computer Vision and Robotics (VIBOT). The program is designed under the European CommissionFramework through the collaboration between: (1)Universit ´e de Bourgogne – Coordinating University(France) (2) Universitat de Girona (Spain) and (3) Heriot-Watt University (Scotland). Graduatelevel lectures on Probabilistic and Autonomous Robotics, Scene Segmentation and Interpretation, VisualPerception, Compressive Sensing, Variational Methods for Computer Vision and Multi-Sensor Fusion &Tracking provided me a clear understanding in the areas of state estimation, trajectory generation, target tracking and filtering and control of robots. In the first year, I had the privilege to work on key academic projects namely Deep Learning based Scene Interpretation, Autonomous Frontier exploration, mapping and path-planning of TurtleBot, and End-to-end learning based autonomous navigation of aerial robot.
It was a wonderful opportunity to learn and improve technical skills like ROS, Gazebo, OpenCV, PCL, OMPL and TensorFlow. Owing to my interest in mobile robotics, during the summer vacation at the end of the 1st year, I wasaccepted by Prof. Antonio Franchi of the “Robotics and InteractionS” Team of LAAS (Laboratoired’analyse et d’architecture des syst ´emes), Toulouse, for 2 months research internship project on “Onboardvision estimation for Aerial Manipulation and Physical Estimation”. In this project, I developed avision based control scheme to influence and improve the manipulation and physical interaction capabilitiesof the aerial agent endowed with a 2 DOF arm in a Motion Capture (MoCap) denied environment.Due to my immense interest in autonomous systems, I was accepted by Prof. Yvan Petillot and Dr. Sen Wang at Ocean Systems Laboratory, Heriot-Watt for six months master thesis project on “Underwater Localization with Deep Learning based Visual Odometry”. Possible topics include 3D structure from motion using sonar images, 3D convolutional networks, recurrent neural networks and deep structured models for visual odometry in underwater environments.
Currently, I am doing a bibliography survey on theabove topic Having described in detail my background and my interests, I firmly believe that Ph.D. studies at Texas A & M University is a great chance for me to deepen my knowledge, pursue my passion and give contributions to the scientific community. Among all the faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, I am particularly interested in working under Professor Srikanth Saripalli because his research emphasis on autonomous systems, control and vision, which matches closely with mine. I had the chance to read his paper titled “Vision-based autonomous landing of an UAV” which clearly illustrates vision-based landing algorithm for UAV using an onboard behavior-based controller to follow a path to the landing site. This idea helped me in implementing the internship project at LAAS.
Therefore, I express my strong interest to work under him for pursuing a Ph.D. degree.
I strongly believe that postgraduate studies at TAMU would be a key step towards realizing my career and research goals. This is my dream.