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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Robotics: Aerial Robotics by University of Pennsylvania

2,537 ratings
649 reviews

About the Course

How can we create agile micro aerial vehicles that are able to operate autonomously in cluttered indoor and outdoor environments? You will gain an introduction to the mechanics of flight and the design of quadrotor flying robots and will be able to develop dynamic models, derive controllers, and synthesize planners for operating in three dimensional environments. You will be exposed to the challenges of using noisy sensors for localization and maneuvering in complex, three-dimensional environments. Finally, you will gain insights through seeing real world examples of the possible applications and challenges for the rapidly-growing drone industry. Mathematical prerequisites: Students taking this course are expected to have some familiarity with linear algebra, single variable calculus, and differential equations. Programming prerequisites: Some experience programming with MATLAB or Octave is recommended (we will use MATLAB in this course.) MATLAB will require the use of a 64-bit computer....

Top reviews

Oct 22, 2017

The course is very good.\n\nThe classes are well taught and show general concepts. It is necessary to do research on the internet, to solve the assignments. This is not a bad thing in my point of view

Jun 8, 2018

I think this is very good course of aerial robotics research. Being a student of robotics, I feel that some of stuffs in this course needs a good background in control and mechanical engineering.

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1 - 25 of 629 Reviews for Robotics: Aerial Robotics

By Zachary H

Feb 20, 2016

So close but yet so far ...

Course concepts are interesting and the programming assignments are fun but the presentation can be greatly improved.

Criticisms include:

(i) The course isn't self contained. Physical concepts like 'resultant moment', 'inertial and body-fixed frame' and 'torque' are used without definition. Mechanics is not listed as a prerequisite but it should be.

(ii) Lectures are very mathematical but proofs, intuition and good problem sets are all missing. Listening to a math lecture without doing challenging problems or deriving mathematical results to build intuition can be a waste of time. Check out John Cochrane's Asset Pricing 1 and 2 or Tim Roughgarden's Algo 1 and 2 for great examples of thoughtful problem sets and intuitive derivations.

(iii) Way too much powerpoint! Speed reading a static powerpoint slide overloaded with dense mathematical formulas without using pointers or animations to focus the students attention is a recipe for confusion and frustration. I find hand written derivations, even when the handwriting is a little sloppy, much easier to follow than a static page of formulas plus a sound track. Hand written derivations impose a natural pace and focal point to the content. Check out Gilbert Strang's Linear Algebra, Sebastian Thrun's Artificial Intelligence for Robotics and Andrew Ng's Machine Learning for examples of good derivations of mathematically sophisticated material.

(iv) The programming assignments while fun were somewhat ad hoc and disconnected from the lecture material, specifically, the main task of every single assignment was to hand tune a pd controller. No systematic approach was ever described for performing this task.

By Pushkar K

Dec 28, 2016

[I am speaking from my personal experience about this course. I don't mean to insult anyone or criticize the method of teaching and I am not doubting the credentials of instructors. It is just what I experienced from this course that I am saying. However, I don't mean to discourage anyone from attempting this course. This review is just a summary of what I felt about the first two weeks of this course.]

I don't think this course is for the beginners at all. The teaching method did not quite please me. It appears that the instructors and TAs are simply reading the transcripts and bombarding equations on the screen. Also, the course hasn't made any reading material available, and they are not even providing the slides for the lectures (as of till DEC 2016).

I have enrolled and completed a course on mobile robotics from Georgia Tech on Coursera and they were using slides and at the same time the instructors were scribbling equations on the slides and ensuring that they maintain synchronicity with the learning and showing them how a particular equation emerges. They also had lectures which were designed to help learners attempt the quiz and special section about MATLAB and how to build robots. They also provided slides to revise what was mentioned in the lectures. They were teaching and not reading from teleprompter.

This course looked lot of theoretical and I am not sure for whom it is designed for. Also, in the discussion forum, I haven't received answer to the questions that I'm posting(since right now it's holiday season, I can exempt them from not replying).

I knew I could carry on with this irritation and still get the course certificate for which I've paid for, but then there is no point in wasting time in which the explanation is not clear. It would take me almost 20 to 30 minutes to make notes over a 5 minute long video. I would rather read a book on this subject.

I would have appreciated if they followed certain steps:

1) Make some course material which will help students read and revise information.

2) Suggest some reading/reference material to understand the concepts which are not otherwise covered in this course.

3) Use pointers(touch screen devices) to show and point out which equations are being referred to and maintain synchronicity between the information given in the slides and the one said by the instructor.

4) Supplementary lectures are extremely fast paced and please don't take derivation of an equation for granted and please do explain.

So, if you are looking forward to do this course, I suggest you go forward if you have an in-depth knowledge about vectors, matrices and calculus.

By Olena D

Feb 29, 2016

I had very high hopes for this course. I was actually planning to purchase the specialization - just as a thank you gesture. Unfortunately, there is very little to be grateful for here.

In this course, you get a series of super short lectures giving you an overview of the math and physics behind the aerial robotics. I can't be the judge (since I hold a degree in this area), but I don't think you'll be able to get much if you aren't familiar with the topics yet. And you most certainly won't learn anything new if you had some previous training.

And then suddenly there are assignments. That have almost nothing to do with the lectures, but require quite a bit of Matlab programming (did I mention you won't be taught any Matlab in the process?) To make things worse, the assignments are rather poorly explained.

By the way, you won't get any replies from the course team - they even ignore questions about errors in lectures.

The course looks very sloppy. As if someone forced the team to put together something for Coursera. A huge disappointment :(

By Matthew R

Aug 7, 2016

The video lectures provide an introduction to quadrotor flight dynamics and path planning. The lectures are ok.


At least one of the coding assignments has a significant bug in the termination condition. The mentors will ignore any help requests that deal with the bug in their code.

The assignments involve a lot of hand tuning of PD controllers. That's a reasonable task to perform once or twice, but it rapidly becomes extremely tedious and detracts from the other materials that are being taught.

The final assignment doesn't do a particularly good job evaluating the required test condition.

If you do take the course I'd want you to know:

You should expect to modify the provided code to fix their bugs.

There are no "gotcha" quiz questions. If you are confused by getting a question wrong you might want to re-try your answer. There seems to be a bug in the way at least one quiz question is set up.

On the final assignment you can modify the simulation step where it makes things run in "real time". Removing that step makes the simulation run much more quickly and allows for faster iteration.

To conclude:

This is a course with a lot of potential, but unless Coursera makes an effort to improve the course I would not recommend it.

By Cristina E

Feb 12, 2016

Well balanced mix of theory and practical applicability. Explanation of the material is also very good.

The assignments are nicely built on the taught material to stimulate understanding.

By Sathivada C K S

Nov 25, 2018

Firstly. I thank Mr Vijay Kumar and his team to take time & efforts on preparing the material which is structure perfectly for a beginner like me.

Secondly for giving us explicit videos and materials for the research carried out on drones especially quadrotors at Penn State University, this not only helped me with the course for which I had liking, but has also opened up options for master program in your prestigious university.

Lastly, I thank all the students who have been active on the forum to respond on issues faced in programming assignments. Thank you all, happy learning.

By Ivan T

Oct 23, 2017

The course is very good.

The classes are well taught and show general concepts. It is necessary to do research on the internet, to solve the assignments. This is not a bad thing in my point of view

By Sandesh T

Jun 9, 2018

I think this is very good course of aerial robotics research. Being a student of robotics, I feel that some of stuffs in this course needs a good background in control and mechanical engineering.

By Utkarsh M

Apr 8, 2019

The course is very good and is designed such that even beginners can get a good grasp on the content that is made available. The discussion forums are great and help in making life easier.

By Pablo

Aug 29, 2017

Quiz != lecture materials...

By Eric B

Apr 27, 2019

I've learned a lot in 4 short weeks. This is a great course, especially for someone with an academic background in controls, but little practical experience.

By Wahyu G

Mar 10, 2018

It's a tough course, but it's really worth the time if you're interested in robotics, especially UAVs. You really have to spend more time in the programming assignment, especially the last one, trajectory generation. The suplementary materials are really really helpful. The downside is that the help in the forum is really minimum. You have to wait 2 or 3 days to get responses.

Thank you lecturer and the team, I learned a lot and I'm grateful for that.

By Lunghao L

Jun 30, 2018

This is quite a good course, since I am a student who had learn control theory before, this class teach me something really practical. Believe me I don't think it is easy, although I have some basic knowledge about matlab and control, I still struggle in some part of class. What best is! The class show me what quad really do in real world, in the way I didn't imagine before. Thanks U Penn and professor and everyone in forum!

By Md. S H

Jun 27, 2019

It was a awesome course. As a novice, I somehow completed it, however with great effort

By Nandakumar L

Dec 26, 2018

Right course to understand the science behind quad-rotors.


Mar 14, 2019





By Andrew W

Oct 14, 2018

Very interesting and very well prepared. I appreciate the instructors carefully constructed explanations and clarity. I understood there were no technical prerequisites required to take this course, but the material is not easy anyone lacking a science (e.g. engineering) background.

I was required to study the material and pull out my old text books to refresh on most of the topics. Also without any basic linear algebra and Matlab knowledge, the course could be very challenging.

By Châu M V

Sep 8, 2017

General speaking, the course is very good, lecture contains great knowledge. But the programming task consumed time in unnecessary thing , PID tuning parameters, which does not help students understand the methods, just "blindly changing parameters"

By Abdelrahman A

Sep 16, 2018

It needs more programming in depth and it will be perfect.

By Jishnu S

May 2, 2020

Worst explanations and of no use.If you really want to study some thing then dont go for it or if you just want a certificate only then go for it. He is just reading from screen and showing what is done in his lab. No mathematical explanation or logic for any.

Better to learn Modern robotic course which is challenging though concepts are well explained in book they refer.

By Osama K

Aug 9, 2016

This course is not even considered as an introduction it's a complementary for those whose career is robotics , in other words the required prerequisites are more than matlab programming skills and some calculus and algebra, its assignments have many problems that cannot be solved using just the course studying.

the course doesn't give many information.

By Nick J

Jan 21, 2016

Requires MATLAB. In my view, a university should not be promoting a proprietary product. There have been other Cousera courses which used Octave, the free-software implementation of the programming language implemented by MATLAB.

I have seen no good reason why Octave should not have been used for this course.

By Labid B B

May 3, 2020

This course happens to be inconsistent between video lectures and exercise. No reference book and thus try to make things very complex. I dont understand why they have used MATLAB which is not open source. I am quite frustrated and dropping off the following course of this specialization program.

By Md A S

Feb 19, 2016

This is a totally theoretical course. This actually does not help to build a quadcopter from the scratch. It should have been mentioned in the introduction. I am opting out. The lectures did not seem appropriate for the people without proper background. Not satisfied.

By José I G C

Feb 1, 2016

Really bad course. They don't explain the concepts clearly, the quizzes ambiguously ask things not seen in the videos and the instructor introduces equations without further explanation. The course Autonomous Navigation for Flying Robots (edX) is much better.