Dr. Federico Renda
Dr. federico renda Associate Professor Mechanical Engineering

Contact Information
federico.renda@ku.ac.ae +971 2 312 3932


Dr. Federico Renda is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Before joining Khalifa University, he was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the BioRobotics Institute of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, where he received his Ph.D. degree in 2014. He obtained his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in biomedical engineering from the University of Pisa, Italy, in 2007 and 2009, respectively.

Dr. Renda has been a visiting professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS), the National Institute for Research in Digital Science and Technology (INRIA, Lille), and others. He has been appointed as Associate Editor and Program Committee Member of important robotics journals and conferences, such as the International Journal of Robotics Research (IJRR) and the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), to name a few.

Dr. Renda's research interests encompass the study of multibody dynamical systems, including modeling and control of complex soft and underwater robots, focusing on the application of the principles of geometric mechanics. His research is applied to the agile motion of highly deformable manipulators as well as underwater swarm robotics for persistent surveillance of large submerged structures.

  • PhD, Robotics, Scuola Superiore SantAnna (Italy), 2014
  • MSc, Biomedical Engineering, University of Pisa (Italy), 2009
  • BSc, Biomedical Engineering, University of Pisa (Italy), 2007

  • Advanced Dynamics (MEEN 601 )
  • Differential Equations (MATH206)
  • Feedback Control (MEEN 621)
  • UAV Modeling and Control (AERO401)
  • Computer-Controlled Systems (MEEN356)
  • Dynamic Systems and Vibration (MEEN350)
  • Engineering Dynamics (MEEN201)

a:1:{i:0;s:40:"KU Center for Autonomous Robotic Systems";}1
Affiliated Centers, Groups & Labs

Research Interests
  • Soft Robotics
  • Underwater Robotics
  • Geometric Mechanics

Research Projects

Heterogeneous swarm of Underwater Autonomous Vehicles (Sponsored by TII)

In this Research Project, a swarm of heterogeneous underwater robotic fishes will be investigated. Starting from the biological counterparts of real school fishes, an artificial school of 30 hybrid (remotely controlled and autonomous) underwater robots will be implemented, consisting of 5 “special” fishes integrated with more sensors and communication channels with the remote operator, and 25 “normal” autonomous fishes, with less sensors and able to communicate each other (a safety methodology to recover the robot is integrated in case of emergency). Additionally, a floating beacon is able to collect data from fish. A static robot deployed on the sea floor and able to resurface after operation is designed to collect environmental data.

Artificial Feather Stars: A Multi-functional, Multi-agent and Hyper-redundant Approach for Soft Underwater Robotics (Sponsored by ONRG)

In this project, we propose a novel underwater soft robot inspired by feather stars, a swimming specimen of the Crinoidea family, composed of multiple, branching soft modules that surround the main body of the animal as well as its robotics counterpart. Exploiting its elongated structure and natural compliance, each module will combine propulsion and manipulation skills in order to obtain a highly redundant system able to adapt to different tasks. The proposed design has the potential to unveil an effective solution for a broad range of underwater operations currently unsolved. It also allows safe, robust, and gentle manipulation and intervention in human-made underwater structures such as oil and gas pipelines.

Marine Robotics for Ocean Interventions (Sponsored by KU)

The oceans present critical sources of food and other resources crucial to economic development in the UAE and the world in general. Several offshore and subsea systems have been constructed to take advantage of the resources offered by the oceans. Such systems include energy harvesters, offshore oil and gas drilling platforms, communication cable networks, and fish farms. Constructing, maintaining, and repairing such offshore facilities is very challenging, requiring specialized vessels and human divers. This project will investigate the use of an underwater mobile manipulator for carrying out maintenance and repair tasks. We will focus on embracing compliance and torque control, developing novel compliant underwater arms, and multimodal underwater perception systems. Particular emphasis will be on semi-autonomous underwater rope manipulation and knotting.

Biomimetic-joint-thrust system for underwater propulsion (Sponsored by KU)

Jet propulsion is an energy-efficient mechanism employed in traditional aerospace and marine engines, consisting of a fast-moving jet of fluid to generate a propulsive thrust. This mechanism is also at the base of the swimming strategies of several marine species. By pointing the jet outlet in different directions and by changing the amount of water drawn, cephalopods (squid or octopi) can modify the direction and speed of their jet propulsion. Inspired by this, we present a soft jet propulsor that can control the outlet position and orientation. The design combines the actuation required for the volume squeezing at the base of the jet propulsion mechanism with a second actuator to define the orientation of the propulsor. This thruster has the potential to unveil an effective solution for a broad range of tasks currently unsolved, combining the high-speed maneuverability of traditional rigid jet propellers with the main advantages of soft robotics.

Research Staff and Graduate Students:

Dr. Anup Mathew Post Doctoral Fellow
Dr. Saverio Iacoponi Post Doctoral Fellow
Dr. Daniel Feliu Post Doctoral Fellow
Eng. Andrea Infanti Research Associate
Yusuf Abdullahi Adamu PhD
Abdulaziz Youssef Alkayas PhD
Mohamed Moustafa Elhanbaly PhD
Anees Basheer Peringal PhD
Aysha Ali Samra Ali Alshehhi PhD
Noureldin Mohamed Elhendawi MSc
Ahmad Essam Almasri MSc
Saif Dhafer Alameri MSc
Mohammed Walid Tarnini MSc