Our Story

Where We Began

The story of R Squared Robotics began at Virginia Tech with a group of engineering students and their faculty advisor. Together, they designed and built robots that won first place at the international AgBOT competition two years in a row in 2018 and 2019.

Recognizing the value of what they had built, members of that team founded a business dedicated to a new challenge: automating the end-of-line warehouse environment. Like agriculture, the warehouse holds opportunities to elevate the quality of human work by eliminating repetitive and manually taxing processes.

Today, the R Squared team is continuing to apply our vision of the future to today’s business needs, all while keeping the spirit of teamwork and fun from our contest days firmly in place.

Hongxu ‘Howard’ Guo

Howard has more than six years of experience working in robotics labs and companies. He graduated from Virginia Tech with two bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering and is currently pursuing his master’s degree.

During his time at Virginia Tech, Howard led the student team that won the international AgBOT Challenge for two consecutive years. After graduation he co-founded Scientiach Robotics and served as the CEO. Howard believes robots will bring high efficiency, high accuracy, and high sustainability to all industries, and, most importantly, can protect humans from dangerous and repetitive tasks.

Howard maintains more than just an eye for function. Equipped with an ever-present camera in his backpack, he takes portraits and landscapes with an artistic ability he hasn’t been able to teach a robot…yet.

Yi Han

Yi has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Virginia Tech. His graduate thesis focused on bringing data analytics and deep learning to the field of material science, aiming to optimize the additive manufacturing process. Yi’s role during the AgBOT challenge was bringing intelligence to the robot and allowing it to handle tasks including crop row tracking, obstacle avoidance, and object detection.

Yi’s specialties include image processing, computer vision, deep learning, and embedded systems. He is also an experienced software engineer, utilizing artificial intelligence to solve many domain-specific problems.

Yi loves technology, and his daily routine includes catching up with the latest trends in the tech industry. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music on Hi-Fi equipment, playing video games, and building computers. He also maintains a collection of anime character figurines. Maybe one day he’ll convert them into robots too!

Sena Hunde

Sena is a Virginia Tech alum with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. His research and work focused on the control of automated vehicles both for on-road and off-road use. Sena worked with the award-winning Virginia Tech AgBOT team to develop autonomous agricultural systems, focusing on solving the problem of autonomous driving.

After graduate school, Sena worked as a system integration engineer at Torc Robotics, integrating and testing autonomous vehicles. He also co-founded Scientiach Robotics, where he continued to develop automated agricultural systems serving as the COO and worked on design and integration of the business’ projects. Sena’s experience in developing automated systems is motivated by his curiosity and drive to bring about positive change to society.

Like the rest of the R Squared team, Sena enjoys the outdoors, hiking, and driving anything with wheels. Serving as the unofficial camping trip mastermind for the team, Sena makes sure to balance outdoor pursuits with solid movie recommendations.

Dr. Alexander Leonessa

An internationally recognized expert in the area of autonomous vehicle control and multiple degree holder in Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineering and Applied Mathematics, Dr. Leonessa first met the founding members of the R Squared team as their professor within Virginia Tech’s prestigious College of Engineering. His range of interests span a wide array of cutting-edge disciplinary fields, including control theory and robotics, autonomous ground, aerial, surface and underwater vehicles, humanoid and rehabilitation robotics, brain computer interfaces, and sensory-motor neuroprosthesis.

Dr. Leonessa has been published over 40 times across various scientific journals, and is also a patent holder, conference speaker, and former Lieutenant Officer in the Italian Coast Guard. With working habits that start as early as 3 o’clock in the morning (without coffee), he sets a great example by personally demonstrating automation for his students and coworkers.

Michael Gliedman

Formerly the CIO of the National Basketball Association before joining Ranpak, Michael has spent his career building and managing multiple technology groups and developing strategies geared toward obtaining the highest value from technology investments. Some of Michael’s notable technical achievements include building the largest fiber-based video and data network in all of sports to transport 12 angles of broadcast-quality video from every game to power all NBA content creation and distribution activities. He also launched the League’s first cyber-security program.

Michael holds a degree in Computer Science from Brandeis University as well as an MBA from Columbia University. Michael is also a long-time student of rock ‘n’ roll having played the guitar for many years and has played in numerous original and cover bands.

Whether it’s preparing for a gig, working on a harmony, or driving large systems initiatives, Michael has made a career based on bringing business, technology, and passion together to create amazing results.