Systems, Controls, and Robotics

Collage of systems, controls, and robotics prototypes

The systems, controls, and robotics (SCaR) research supergroup is focused on:

  • Recognizing and developing research collaborations that address open research questions in the areas of systems, controls, and robotics
  • Identifying and building courses that prepare students for careers in the field
  • Creating an experimental testbed that will support undergraduate and graduate student groups, course instruction, and multidisciplinary research projects

The SCaR research portfolio spans a broad range of interdisciplinary research topics, including but not limited to transportation, biomechanics, energy systems, smart cities, manufacturing, and vibrations.   

SCaR Sample Work

  • Integrating Physics-Based Models and ML/AI for Multi-Domain Mission PlanningHerschel Pangborn and Sean Brennan 
  • Integrating Path Planning, Following, and Online Learning in Multi-Agent Competitive GamesHerschel Pangborn, Sean Brennan, and Puneet Singla 
  • Collaborative Research: Predicting and Optimizing User Comfort for Lower-limb Exoskeletons: Exploring Mutual Motor Adaption in Human-Machine InteractionAnne Martin and Bo Cheng 
  • Emergence of low-dimensional motor features during sensory guided flight in flies: Jean-Michel Mongeau, Bo Cheng 
  • A Real-Time, Markerless 3D Tracking and Perturbation System to Reverse Engineer Control of Insect, Bird, and Robotic Flight and SwimmingJean-Michel Mongeau, Bo Cheng 
  • Enabling effective and trustworthy collaboration between autonomy and factory floor workersKatie Fitzsimons and Ilya Kovalenko 
  • System-Level Energy Efficiency Digital Twins for Manufacturing SystemsHerschel Pangborn and Ilya Kovalenko 
Graduate Progmras
Labs and Centers


With more than 60 faculty members, 330 graduate students, and 1,000 undergraduate students, the Penn State Department of Mechanical Engineering embraces a culture that welcomes individuals with a diversity of backgrounds and expertise. Our faculty and students are innovating today what will impact tomorrow’s solutions to meeting our energy needs, homeland security, biomedical devices, and transportation systems. We offer B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering as well as resident (M.S., Ph.D.) and online (M.S.) graduate degrees in mechanical engineering. See how we’re inspiring change and impacting tomorrow at

Department of Mechanical Engineering

137 Reber Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-2519