CSE 553: Mobile Robotics

Spring 2012

[What] [Who] [Where] [Textbook] [Collaboration] [Grading]
[ROS] [PCL] [OpenCV]
[Google Group]
[PR2 Reservations]


CSE 553 builds on the material covered in
CSE 550, and takes an in-depth look at some of the current research in mobile robotics. As with CSE 550, we concentrate on robotics from a software perspective. The class involves a substantial implementation project, which gives students the change to work on a real research robot platform. Lectures will involve presentations of work from the recent research literature.

From the course catalog:

This course covers advanced topics from the theory and practice of mobile robotics. Students will read, present and discuss papers from the current research literature. There will be a substantial programming project, in which students implement and test ideas from the current research literature on one of the department's research robot platforms. Prerequisites: CSE 550A and strong programming skills (preferably in C++).


Instructor: Bill Smart (

When and Where

Classes: Monday and Wednesday 10:00am to 11:30am, Earth & Planetary Sciences 102

Office Hours: by appointment


There is no textbook for the class, since we will be reading research papers. However, there are a couple of texts that you might find useful, especially if you want to dig more deeply into some of the background material.

Collaboration Policy

This class is meant to be collaborative. You should feel free to discuss the material with other students, and to collaborate with them as much as you want. However, when you work with another student, be sure to explicitly tell us so that we're aware of it. Collaboration is a vital part of this class, but we want to make sure that everyone is pulling their weight. Unless we explicitly tell you otherwise, you're allowed to collaborate freely for your work in this class. Exceptions to this general rule will be for quizzes, and some of the labs and homeworks. In this case, the official class collaboration policy will be in effect:
If you willfully misrepresent someone else's work as your own, you are guilty of cheating. Cheating, in any form, will not be tolerated in this class.

If you are guilty of cheating on any assignment or exam, you will be penalized the number of points that the assignment is worth. For example, if you are guilty of cheating on an assignment worth 10 points, your score on that assignment will be -10. If you copy from anyone in the class both parties will be penalized, regardless of which direction the information flowed. Two or more instances of cheating in the course will result in a grade of F for the class, and will be referred to the School of Engineering Discipline Committee.

We will follow the guidelines of the University Undergradate Academic Integrity Policy, but we reserve the right to make the final determination of what constitutes cheating for this class. If you suspect that you may be entering an ambiguous situation, it is your responsibility to clarify it before the professor or TAs detect it. If in doubt, please ask

You are also encouraged to look things up on the web. While there's a lot of information out there, there's also a lot of nonsense. You should always exercise caution before using anything you find on the web. You should never download and use code if you do not understand how it works. For several of the assignments, you will be asked to write code that you might reasonably find on the web. If you download and use code (even if you're just "inspired" by it, and don't use it character-for-character), you must tell us. Using someone else's code is fine, but if you do not tell us that you did it, you will be considered to have cheated, and will be subject to the integrity policy, above.


Knowledge Benchmarking Event 1      10%      7 March, 2012
Knowledge Benchmarking Event 2 10%

Demo 1 20% by 30 March, 2012
Demo 2 20% by 13 April, 2012
Demo 3 20% by 27 April, 2012

Writeup and Final Presentation 10% 30 April, 2012

In-class updates 10%

Total 100%

The usual 10% per day late penalty will apply for all work with a deadline.

Grades will be assigned in the class as follows:

A     85% and up
B 75% and up
C 65% and up
D 50% and up
F below 50%

Page written by Bill Smart.