Kevin S. Tracy

I am a PhD student in The Robotics Institute, a part of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. I am advised by Zac Manchester as a member of the Robotic Exploration Lab.

I did my BS in Mechanical Engineering at Rice University, and my MS in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University with a concentration in dynamics. At Stanford I served as a teaching assistant to Stephen Rock for Control Design Techniques, and Mac Schwager for State Estimation and Filtering for Robotic Perception.

I have interned at SpaceX, Astranis, Lockheed Martin, and Maxar, primarily working on guidance, navigation, and control for spacecraft.

Email  /  CV  /  Google Scholar  /  Twitter  /  Github

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Research

I'm interested in convex and non-convex optimization, motion planning, contact physics, and estimation. I like finding optimization-based solutions to new and old problems.

b3do Differentiable Collision Detection for a Set of Convex Primitives
Kevin Tracy, Taylor Howell, Zac Manchester

arXiv / code

A framework for computing differentiable collision information betweens a set of convex primitives by solving for the minimum scaling of each shape that results in an intersection.

b3do DiffPills: Differentiable Collision Detection for Capsules and Padded Polygons
Kevin Tracy, Taylor Howell, Zac Manchester

arXiv / code

DiffPills computes collision information between capsules and padded polygons by forming and solving differentiable quadratic programs.

b3do CALIPSO: A Differentiable Solver for Trajectory Optimization with Conic and Complementarity Constraints
Taylor Howell, Kevin Tracy, Simon Le Cleac'h, Zac Manchester
ISRR, 2022
arXiv / code

CALIPSO is a nonlinear programming solver designed to handle the types of conic and complimentarity problems that arise in robotic motion planning problems with contact.

b3do The V-R3x Mission: Towards Autonomous Networking and Navigation for Cubesat Swarms
Max Holliday, Kevin Tracy, Zac Manchester, Anh Nguyen
4S Symposium Small Satellites Systems, 2022
pdf

V-R3x is a three cubesat constellation that demonstrated on-orbit mesh networking and relative navigation.

b3do Ultra-Fine Pointing for Nanosatellite Telescopes With Actuated Booms
Kevin Tracy, Zac Manchester Ewan Douglas,
IEEE Aerospace Conf., 2022,   Best Paper (Avionics and Electronics for Space Applications)
pdf

A control and estimation framework is proposed for a fine pointing cubesat where traditional reaction wheels are swapped for three actuated booms with tip-mounted masses.

b3do CPEG: A Convex Predictor-corrector Entry Guidance Algorithm
Kevin Tracy, Zac Manchester
IEEE Aerospace Conf., 2022
pdf / code

CPEG is an online-capable tool for optimal entry guidance in the Martian atmosphere.

b3do Practical Limits on Nanosatellite Telescope Pointing: The Impact of Disturbances and Photon Noise
Ewan Douglas, Kevin Tracy, Zac Manchester
Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences, Volume 8,, 2021
pdf / arXiv

The environmental disturbances on a nanosatellite are analyzed within a novel control framework to establish practical performance limits.

b3do Low-Thrust Trajectory Optimization Using The Kustaanheimo-Stiefel Transformation
Kevin Tracy, Zac Manchester
AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, 2021
pdf / code

A trajectory optimization solver based on differential dynamic programming with an augmented lagrangian to handle conic constraints.

b3do Planning With Attitude
Brian Jackson, Kevin Tracy, Zac Manchester
IEEE RA-L, 2021,   Nominated for Best Student Paper
pdf

A unified approach to quaternion differential calculus for use in optimization.

b3do ALTRO-C: A Fast Solver for Conic Model-Predictive Control
Brian Jackson, Tarun Punnose, Daniel Neamati, Kevin Tracy, Rianna Jitosho, Zac Manchester
ICRA, 2021
pdf / code

A trajectory optimization solver based on differential dynamic programming with an augmented lagrangian to handle conic constraints.

b3do Model-Predictive Attitude Control for Flexible Spacecraft During Thruster Firings
Kevin Tracy, Zac Manchester
AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, 2020
pdf / code

Convex model-predictive control is used to stabilize a flexible spacecraft during planned thruster firings.