Current students


Section: Systems and Control

Major Research topic:
Autonomous Navigation Algorithms for Delivery Robots in Urban Environments

The last few years have been characterized by a significant trend in the commerce and logistics sectors. The popularity of e-commerce, already on the rise before 2020, spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic and does not show signs of abating today. Customers have come to expect quick and reliable one-daydelivery services, not only from the big retailers and online vendors but also from neighborhood shops. Such a drastic increase in the demand for shipping services is driving innovation in the logistics sector, with companies trying to reduce costs, improve reliability and reduce shipping times, all while reducing the environmental footprint of the delivery and the other externalities costs (noise and traffic being the main ones) to which the public is paying more and more attention.
The robot on which this work is based addresses the presented problems: Yape (Your Autonomous Pony Express) is a ground drone designed for autonomous last-mile parcel delivery. It is a small, autonomous electric vehicle that can silently and ecologically travel on sidewalks, without congesting the city roads, providing efficient point-to-point delivery in urban environments.
Yape has to be agile enough to work in an environment built for humans, and this is accomplished thanks to its Two-Wheeled Inverted Pendulum (TWIP) structure, which makes it capable of turning on the spot and performing other extremely agile movements. The biggest challenge Yape faces, though, is the one of autonomy.
My research, then, focuses on developing autonomous navigation algorithms for Yape, solving the challenges of robotic navigation in urban environments.