Site Search  






Teaching » CS 545 Introduction to Robotics


Time and Place:



  • All important methods of controlling a robot will be introduced.
  • Case studies with simulations.
  • Introduction to real-time operating system Xenomai
  • Labs and/or simulations with actual robots (Aldebaran Nao -- see picture on the right)
  • Most lectures are recorded lectures to allow a flipped-classroom concept

Course Description:

This course introduces fundamental concepts in Robotics. In the first half of the course, basic concepts will be discussed, including coordinate transformation, kinematics, dynamics, Laplace transforms, equations of motion, feedback and feedforward control, and trajectory planning. These topics will be exemplified with simulation studies using our own simulator. The second half of the course will focus on applying the knowledge from the initial lectures to various motor systems, including manipulators, artificial eye systems, locomotory systems, and mobile robotics. Some lectures will be replaced/supplemented with labs in which the course participant will learn to program a small humanoid robot.

Class Format:

Initially, the course has a lecture format. Later during the course, labs will be added by splitting the course participants into small groups. There is NO midterm and ONE final exam.


2010 Grade Distribution:

  • 4 Homework assignments: each 15%
  • Project: 10%
  • NO Midterm
  • Final: 30% (Closed book, 90% of the questions will be taken from a list of questions handed to the students by early April)

Homework Late Policy

10% credit subtraction per late day


Basic knowledge in linear algebra (matrices and vectors), calculus, programming in C/C++ or any other language, or permission by instructor.


Primary textbook:

  • Siciliano B, Sciavicco L, Villani L, Oriolo G (2009) Robotics : modelling, planning and control. Springer, London.

Additional recommended books:

  • J. J. Craig, Introduction to robotics (Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA, 1986).
  • P. McKerrow, Introduction to robotics, Electronic systems engineering series (Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., Sydney ; Reading, Mass., 1991).
  • G. Strang, Linear algebra and its applications, 3rd Edition, (Harcourt Brace & Company, Orlando, FA, 1988).


Dr. Stefan Schaal
University of Southern California
Ronald Tutor Hall RTH-401
Los Angeles, CA 90089-2905
phone: (213) 740 9418
email: sschaal [snail] usc [period] edu -> mailto:%20sschaal [snail] usc [period] edu


Office Hours and Homework-related Questions:

Office hours are held every Mondays and Wednesdays, 11am-12pm, at RTH 422.


Wednesdays and Thursdays 4-6pm according to specific schedule (see syllabus at the bottom) in RTH 422 and RTH 406


The diversity of the participants in this course is a valuable source of ideas, problem solving strategies, and engineering creativity. I encourage and support the efforts of all of our students to contribute freely and enthusiastically. We are members of an academic community where it is our shared responsibility to cultivate a climate where all students and individuals are valued and where both they and their ideas are treated with respect, regardless of their differences, visible or invisible.

Academic Integrity:

All students are required to abide by the USC code of Academic Integrity. Violation of that Code will be dealt with as described in SCAMPUS. If you have any questions about the responsibilities of either students, faculty, or graders under this policy, contact the instructor or the Office of Student Conduct.

Disabilities and Academic Accomodations:

Students requesting academic accomodations based on a disability are required to register with Disability Services and Programs (DSP) each semester. A letter of verification for approved accomodations can be obtained from DSP when adequate documentaion is filed. Please be sure the letter is delivered to the instructor (or TA) as early in the semester as possible. DSP is open Monday-Friday, 8:30-5:00. The office is in Student Union 301 and their phone number is (213) 740-0776.

Designed by: Nerses Ohanyan & Jan Peters
Page last modified on March 26, 2019, at 10:41 AM