Vishnu Sashank Dorbala


I am a third year CS PhD student at the University of Maryland, College Park. I work at the GAMMA lab, under the supervision of Prof. Dinesh Manocha. My current research deals with Embodied Navigation in Social Environments, where I work on interfacing robot agents with language and visual understanding capabilities. In particular, I am interested in utilizing Large Language Models (LLMs) and other large Vision-Language models for robot decision-making, especially in generalized, few-shot, or zero-shot settings.

Prior to starting my PhD studies, I obtained a master's degree in Robotics at UMD. During this time, my primary research focus was on Social Robot Navigation, and worked with Prof. Aniket Bera.

I was a Research Fellow at the Center for Visual Information Technology, IIIT-Hyderabad under Prof. C.V. Jawahar from Sept. 2017 to April 2019. During my time there, I collaborated with Prof. A.H Abdul Hafez on a visual servoing project.

Even before that, I received my undergraduate degree in 2017 from Symbiosis International University. For my BTech. thesis, I worked under Prof. Madhura Ingalhalikar on medical image processing, where I classified brain tumor mutations from their MRI scans.

My current research interests lie in the Embodied AI domain, at the intersection of natural language processing and robotics.

When I do get time, I love to travel, hike, compose music, and play chess. Maybe all together, someday.


  • Right Place, Right Time! Towards ObjectNav for Non-Stationary Goals Under Review at CV Conference [Paper Link ]
  • S-EQA: Tackling Situational Queries in Embodied Question Answering Under Review at IROS, 2024 [Paper Link ]
  • Can LLM’s Generate Human-Like Wayfinding Instructions? Towards Platform-Agnostic Embodied Instruction Synthesis Accepted at NAACL Main Conference, 2024 [Paper Link ]
  • Can an Embodied Agent Find Your "Cat-shaped Mug"? LLM-Based Zero-Shot Object Navigation Published at RAL 2023 [Paper Link ]
  • CLIP-Nav: Using CLIP for Zero-Shot Vision-and-Language Navigation Published at CoRL LangRob Workshop, 2022. [Paper Link ]
  • Can a Robot Trust You? A DRL-Based Approach to Trust-Driven, Human-Guided Navigation Published at ICRA, 2021. [ Arxiv Link, Project Page ]
  • ProxEmo: Gait-based Emotion Learning and Multi-view Proxemic Fusion for Socially-Aware Robot Navigation Published at IROS, 2020. [ Arxiv Link, Project Page ]
  • A Deep Learning Approach for Autonomous Corridor Following Published at IROS, 2019. [ publication, pdf, video ]

Work Experience

Last updated July 2023