A team of Daniel Maturana and Sankalp Arora, both Ph.D. students in the Robotics Institute, was one of just eight nationwide to win a 2016 Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship. Each winning team receives $100,000 and will be mentored by Qualcomm engineers.
The research proposal by Arora and Maturana, “Semantic Exploration Through UAVs,” was selected from among 129 proposals from 18 schools.
Their research focuses on exploration path planning and computer vision algorithms that will allow drones to intelligently seek and categorize objects such as cars, buildings and people. This capability would be useful for applications such as search and rescue, planetary exploration and finding and disposing of unexploded ordnance.
The Qualcomm fellowship program is unusual because it requires pairs of students to submit proposals. The company says this approach reflects its core values of innovation, execution and partnership.