Chris Heckman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Jacques I. Pankove Faculty Fellow in the College of Engineering & Applied Science. He earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley in 2008 and his PhD in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from Cornell University in 2012, where he was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. He had postdoctoral appointments at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC as an NRC Research Associate, and at CU Boulder as a Research Scientist, before joining the faculty there in 2016. From 2021-2023, Heckman also worked with Amazon as a Visiting Academic with their Scout program, focused on mobile robots for sidewalk delivery.
Heckman's research focuses on autonomy, perception, field robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence. He directs the Autonomous Robotics and Perception Group, a dynamic and close-knit research team aiming to develop practical and explainable techniques in probabilistic artificial intelligence. His work in computer vision, machine learning and sensor fusion has applications to intelligence, defense, and environmental monitoring. His robotics work is used by both government and industry partners in the development of autonomous vehicles, agricultural platforms and other mobile robots including for medicine, search & rescue, and automation.