Autonomous Systems


CUAir CUAUV CMR CUSail Autonomous Bike


The Cornell University Autonomous Bicycle Project Team is a multi-disciplinary team of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science students working together to build a robotic bicycle with the ability to balance itself the same way a person balances on a bicycle: using steering manipulation. We hope to set a world record for maintaining stability while motionless (track-stand) for the longest time. Not only is our bicycle highly stable at low speeds but it can also easily recover from external forces. Through the use of GPS and image processing, we aim for the bike to be navigationally autonomous and travel unassisted around Cornell campus. In short, we are working to create the world’s best autonomous bicycle by achieving these goals: track-standing, autonomous navigation, and low-speed stability despite disturbances.
As a part of the mechanical team, students have the chance to learn about bicycles and how they work. They will also get hands-on experience with building and designing the various mechanical aspects of this robot. Those interested in bicycle dynamics and/or control theory may also generate simulations of the bicycle and develop different algorithms to help us better control this robot.
We use a number of sensors and an Arduino Due microprocessor on our robot, so students on our electrical team have a chance to delve into both hardware and software. The CU Autonomous Bicycle project team allows its members the opportunity to expand upon what they have learned in the classroom and from more experienced students, and apply it in a hands-on laboratory setting.

Faculty Advisors:
Andy Ruina, MAE

Student Leaders
Kyle Fenske, kaf222@cornell.edu
Arundathi Sharma, ams692@cornell.edu
William Murphy, wsm64@cornell.edu
Olav Imsdahl, oai2@cornell.edu


CUAir, Cornell University Unmanned Air Systems, is an interdisciplinary project team working to design, build, and test an autonomous unmanned aircraft system capable of autonomous reconnaissance missions. This includes tasks such as autonomous take-off and landing, waypoint navigation, automatic in-flight obstacle avoidance, target detection, classification and localization, and payload delivery. The team combines aspects of computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and business and provides students with the opportunity to learn about unmanned air systems in a hands-on setting. Some of the team’s research topics include airframe design and manufacture, propulsion systems, wireless communication, image processing, target recognition, and autopilot control systems.
CUAir competes in the annual Student Unmanned Air Systems (SUAS) Competition sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) at the PAX River Naval Base in Maryland.

Faculty Advisors:
Thomas Avedisian, MAE
Rachit Agarwal, CIS
Bruce Land, ECE

Student Leader
Brendan Quinn, cuair_mae@cornell.edu

For more info, please visit our team website!


CUAUV is a project team composed of around 45 undergraduate students from freshman to seniors that competes in AUVSI’s international Robosub competition. Each year, we design, build, program, and test a completely new autonomous submarine; in August, we ship our sub down to San Diego, put it in a 200’x300′ Navy testing pool, press the green button, and cheer it on as it navigates a complicated underwater obstacle course with no human intervention whatsoever: ramming buoys, dropping markers on objects, firing torpedoes through particularly colored targets, re-positioning PVC structures, and more. CUAUV constructs our submarine from the ground up, fusing skills, tools, and curricula of relevance from mechanical, electrical, software, and organizational engineering. This year, were pursuing a long-held team-wide goal: the creation of two separate submarines which can work synergistically with each other during the competition in order to provide a new level of redundancy and in-water decisionmaking/optimization. In addition, were continuing the integration of a generic electrical communication protocol, refining our vectorized thrust concept from last year in order to adequately deal with measured torques, revamping several software subsystems, and redesigning our well-loved but slightly out-of-fashion website.

First Place Overall, AUVSI Robosub Competition: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2003
Second Place Overall, AUVSI Robosub Competition: 2011, 2004, 2002, 2000

Faculty Advisors:
Robert Shepherd, MAE
Bruce Land, ECE

Student Leader
Joseph Featherston, leader@cuauv.org

For more info, please visit our team website!


The Cornell Mars Rover team designs an innovative, robotic Mars rover that competes annually in the international University Rover Challenge. We are an interdisciplinary, student-run team that brings together talented minds from engineering, science, and business. There are members on our team from a number of Engineering majors, Computer Science, as well as Business and Finance majors. Our rover features a robotic arm for manipulating control panels, a robotic drill for taking and testing soil samples, and a combination rocker-independent suspension for traversing rough terrain. We are looking forward to our 6th year at competition, hosted by the Mars Society at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah.

8th Place at URC in 2016

Faculty Advisors:
Carl Poitras, ECE

Student Leader
John Draikiwicz, jwd94@cornell.edu

For more info, please visit our team website!


The goal of CU Sail is to design and manufacture a small, inexpensive, and mass-producible autonomous robotic sailboat that can intelligently navigate any body of water and collect data. The project is meant to decrease environmental research and acoustic marine mammal monitoring costs by designing a research vessel that can cheaply collect data such as salinity, turbidity, fluorescence, or acoustic patterns. We use competitions as both objectives for our team to strive towards and a refinement process for our boat, learning from other teams and the performance of our own boat to improve our sailboat drone’s design, manufacturing, and performance. CU Sail provides its members with an outstanding opportunity for them to both apply their knowledge from classes and expand upon it in exciting ways.

Faculty Advisors:
Andy Ruina, MAE

Student Leader
Gabriel Zimmerman, giz4@cornell.edu

For more info, please visit our team website!