Sisir Karumanchi


Sisir is currently a Senior Applied Scientist at Amazon Robotics AI. He spent 6 years as a Robotics Technologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, Caltech. He was the software lead for the JPL team at the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) finals. Before joining JPL, Sisir was the manipulation lead in the MIT Team for the early phases of the DRC program.

Sisir got his Bachelor’s degree in Mechatronic Engineering from the University of Sydney in 2005. In 2010, he got his Ph.D. with the Australian Centre for Field Robotics at the University of Sydney. His thesis was on non-parametric learning techniques to aid off-road navigation. His doctoral advisors were Dr. Steve Scheding and Dr. Tim Bailey. During 2011-2014, he was a postdoc at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During this time he worked on semi-autonomy. First on off-road driving with Dr. Karl Iagnemma in the Robotic Mobility Group. And later on mobile manipulation with Prof. Seth Teller and Prof. Russ Tedrake.

In broad strokes, Sisir's research focus is on closing the loop from perception to action. His past experience ranges from wheeled robots, limbed robots to limb wheel hybrids. His specific research interests include:

  • Mobile Manipulation

  • Whole Body Coordination

  • Motion Planning

  • Guaranteed Motion Safety

  • Soft hazards (beyond obstacles, e.g. deformable soil, slopes etc.)

  • Bayesian non-parametric inference

  • Vehicle-terrain interaction

  • Optimization