Faculty Spotlight – Marin Kobilarov, PhD




Marin Kobilarov, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.  His research focuses on developing autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), intelligent robotic devices that can perceive and navigate through natural and extreme environments to aid with exploration and data collection.  In 2008, Dr. Kobilarov earned his PhD in robotics at the University of Southern California. From 2009 to 2012, he was a post-doctorate fellow at the California Institute of Technology, where he focused on control and dynamical systems (CDS).

From an early age, Dr. Kobilarov was interested in artificial intelligence and building his own machines.  Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, he came to the U.S. to attend Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where he double majored in computer science and applied math.  As an undergraduate student, he was involved in the robotics team, where he found his passion for building and programming robots. Over the years, Dr. Kobilarov’s research focus has evolved toward developing ways to equip machines with sensors to enable them to be aware of the surrounding environment. He uses theoretical and computational methods to address underlying analytical issues involving control, dynamics, and mechanics.

Dr. Kobilarov is the recipient of the JHU Water Institute Seed Grant.  During late spring and summer, he plans to utilize AUVs in the Chesapeake Bay, where the devices will play a key role in mitigating problems by providing valuable feedback on environmental effects based on algorithms.  Operating autonomously, AUVs are capable of assisting with assessment of water quality and detection of sources of pollution in the Bay.

Dr. Kobilarov has mentored undergraduate and graduate students.  While his undergraduate students work with software and mechanical design to assist ground and aerial vehicle navigation, his graduate students focus on both analytical and computational methods and their implementation on physical systems.  Dr. Kobilarov leads the Autonomous Systems, Control and Optimization Lab (ASCO), which is part of the Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics at Johns Hopkins.


Fun Facts with Marin Kobilarov!

1) His research involves developing mobile robots, aerial (flying) vehicles, and nanosatellites.

2) When he was in California, he liked to go diving and spearfishing.

3) He also enjoys skiing. 


Marin Kobilarov, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), mechanical engineering