The Robotics Center at the University of Utah is a leader in research spanning Mobile, Aerial, and Space Robotics, integrating expertise from labs in the Mechanical Engineering and Electrical & Computer Engineering Departments.  In Mobile Robotics, researchers focus on developing agile ground-based robots capable of autonomous navigation and task execution, with applications in disaster response and industrial automation and designing advanced control algorithms for these systems, enhancing their precision and adaptability. Aerial Robotics research emphasizes designing UAVs and drones for tasks like aerial surveillance and environmental monitoring, leveraging the expertise in flight control and sensor integration. Space Robotics initiatives explore robotics for space exploration and satellite missions, including autonomous operations and manipulation tasks in extreme environments. Collaborative efforts across these labs drive innovation in robotics technologies with applications across diverse industries and space exploration endeavors.


Kam Lang, PhD

Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Lab Website: Design, Automation, Robotics, & Control (DARC)

The DARC Lab at the University of Utah was established in July 2014 by Dr. Kam K. Leang, when he joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics Center.  The acronym DARC stands for design, automation, robotics, and control — the lab’s core research areas.  The lab spans 1200 sq. ft. of space in the newly renovated Rio Tinto Kennecott Building (MEK room 1156) on the main campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah.   The lab houses state-of the-art equipment for conducting research. For example, some of the work focuses on design, modeling, and control of electroactive materials including piezoelectric ceramics, electroactive polymers, shape memory alloys, and a host of other materials that respond to electrical signals.  More recently, projects in unmanned autonomous systems such as aerial robots are being conducted.  For more detailed information on research projects and funded projects, please see the funded research projects page.

Drew Research Lab

Daniel Drew, PhD

Assistant Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Lab Website: The Drew Research Lab for Autonomous Robotic Millisystems

The driving goal behind our work is to make insect-scale robots truly useful as tools in industrial, commercial, and personal settings. This means not only overcoming the extreme resource constraints imposed by their scale, but also delivering capabilities that are wholly unique. Our work ties numerical simulation together with cutting-edge microfabrication and meso-scale assembly techniques, exploring novel actuation, communication, and sensing modalities for holistically-designed systems. Sometimes we look to nature for inspiration, like in the design of multifunctional components for acoustic communication; often we look beyond it, like in the creation of silent, solid-state atmospheric ion thrusters for flight. In all cases, energy and payload constraints demand systems designed from the ground up, tightly integrated, and at the bleeding edge of possibility.

Robotic Systems Lab

Mark A. Minor, PhD

We synergize design, modeling, and control of robotic systems to arrive at novel embodiments that provide new levels of adaptability, mobility, and immersion that would not otherwise be possible.

Our lab branches into several types of robotic systems. These include climbing robots, terrain adaptable mobile robots, virtual interfaces, autonomous vehicles, and some flying robots (ornithopters, helicopters, etc). We have extensive expertise with design and control of under-actuated nonholonomic systems, kinematic motion control, dynamic motion control, state estimation, sensor development, and data fusion.