Published: Sept. 19, 2022
Grace Gao

Grace Gao
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University
Friday, Sept. 23 | 10:40 A.M. | AERO 120

Abstract: Autonomous vehicles often operate in complex environments with various sensing uncertainties. On Earth, GPS signals can be blocked or reflected by buildings; and camera measurements are susceptible to lighting conditions. While having a variety of sensors is beneficial, including more sensing information can introduce more sensing failures as well as more computational load. For space applications, such as localization on the Moon, it is even more challenging.

In this talk, I will present our recent research efforts on robust vehicle localization under sensing uncertainties. Inspired by cognitive attention in humans, we select a subset of “attention landmarks” from GPS and camera measurements to reduce computation load and provide robust positioning. I will also show our localization techniques that enable autonomous tandem drifting cars, as well as a “moonshot” project to design a GPS-like system for the Moon.

Bio: Grace X. Gao is an assistant professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University. She leads the Navigation and Autonomous Vehicles Laboratory (NAV Lab). Before joining Stanford University, she was faculty at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She obtained her Ph.D. degree at Stanford University. Her research is on robust and secure perception, localization and navigation with applications to manned and unmanned aerial vehicles, autonomous driving cars, as well as space robotics.

Prof. Gao has won a number of awards, including the NSF CAREER Award, the Institute of Navigation Early Achievement Award and the RTCA William E. Jackson Award. She received the Inspiring Early Academic Career Award by Stanford University, and Distinguished Promotion Award from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has won Best Paper/Presentation of the Session Awards 18 times at Institute of Navigation conferences. She received the Dean's Award for Excellence in Research from the College of Engineering, University of Illinois. For her teaching and advising, Prof. Gao received AIAA Stanford Chapter Advisor of the Year Award. She won the Illinois College of Engineering Everitt Award for Teaching Excellence, the Engineering Council Award for Excellence in Advising, and AIAA Illinois Chapter’s Teacher of the Year.


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