RPAL Robotic Personal Assistants Laboratory

Get In Touch

Please contact Prof. Knepper with any general inquiries about the lab.

Get Involved

If you are a current Cornell graduate student, please familiarize yourself with our research before you contact Prof. Knepper.

Our lab involves many Cornell undergraduates in robotics research. If you are an undergraduate who is curious about research, you may be asking yourself: What skills do I need? What is research all about? Is graduate school for me?

There are a few things you can do to get involved. First, it is helpful to take a class in robotics like CS 4750: Foundations of Robotics.

Next, there are two paths to get involved in research in RPAL.

Reading Group

In order to get new lab members trained in robotics research, we have an RPAL reading group. Each week, one paper is assigned for the whole group to read. Members will take turns writing and distributing a list of discussion questions in advance.

This route is appropriate for students who:

  • want to learn research skills,
  • desire a more individualized research experience that can lead to more faculty contact,
  • seek an opportunity to publish their own paper,
  • want an open-ended research experience,
  • are interested in grad school.

Anyone is welcome to participate in the reading group; the only rule is that you must have read the paper to participate. Students who participate in the reading group will be given priority when the lab is recruiting students for research projects.

The reading group meets at 6pm on Wednesdays in the lab. Contact Prof. Knepper to join the group.

Team Projects

Want to get involved in a project immediately? Is a reading group not for you? The Solar Airship Team is currently recruiting new students. The objective of the Solar Airship Team is to build an autonomous blimp capable of long-term independent flight. The team is organized into three primary sub-teams: hardware, simulation, and software. Areas of interest are high-level motion planning, circuit design, sensor fusion, dynamics modeling, power system design, and computer vision. We periodically test the airship in the field during development.

Team projects are best for students who:

  • primarily want to build something,
  • want to work on a team and learn from their peers,
  • want to learn software and hardware tools that might be valuable in industry,
  • are looking for leadership opportunities,
  • want an open-ended project experience.

You can contact Prof. Knepper to get involved with a team project.

The lab is currently looking for a postdoc in technical human-robot interaction or robotic manipulation. If you are earning your PhD in under six months, please send your CV and cover letter to Prof. Knepper to inquire about opportunities.

The lab is always looking for great students. However, admission to Cornell is highly competitive. Prospective graduate students must be admitted to Cornell before they can become a member of RPAL. Admission is handled through a central committee, and Prof. Knepper does not have the power to admit you to any academic program. Please understand that he gets many messages from prospective students and cannot reply to them all.