Photo of Alan R. Wagner

Alan R. Wagner

Assistant Professor


  • Aerospace Engineering

234B Hammond Building


Personal or Departmental Website

Research Areas:

Autonomous Flight and UAVs

Interest Areas:

Autonomous System Control and Planning, Human-Robot Interaction and Teaming, Social Robotics, Machine Ethics, RoboEthics, Humanitarian and Search and Rescue robotics, Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence for Autonomous Systems




  • BA, Psychology, Northwestern University, 1997
  • MS, Computer Science, Boston University, 2001
  • Ph D, Computer Science, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2009


Book, Chapters

  • Jason Borenstein, Ayanna H and Alan Wagner, 2017, Ethics and Healthcare Robotics: Preventing Overtrust in Pediatric Populations, MIT press
  • Alan Wagner and Erica Briscoe, 2016, Psychological Modeling of Humans by Assistive Robots, Academic Press
  • Paul Robinette, Alan Wagner and Ayanna M Howard, 2016, Investigating Human-Robot Trust in Emergency Scenarios: Methodological Lessons Learned, Springer US, pp. 143–166
  • Alan Wagner, 2014, Lies and Deception: Robots that use Falsehood as a Social Strategy, De Gruyter, pp. 207–229

Journal Articles

  • Alan Wagner, Jason Borenstein and Ayanna Howard, 2018, "Overtrust of Pediatric Healthcare Robots: A Preliminary Survey of Parent Perspectives", IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine: Special Issue on Socio-ethical Approaches to Robotics Development
  • Paul Robinette, Alan Wagner and Ayanna M Howard, 2017, "The Effect of Robot Performance on Human-Robot Trust in Time-Critical Situations", Transactions on Human-Machine Systems, 47, (4)
  • Joe Lyons, Mathew Clark, Alan Wagner and M Schuelke, 2016, "Certifiable Trust in Autonomous Systems: Making the Intractable Tangible", Artificial Intelligence Magazine, 38, (3)
  • Alan Wagner, 2015, "Robots That Stereotype: Creating and Using Categories of People for Human-Robot Interaction", Journal of Human-Robot Interaction, 4, (2), pp. 97–124
  • Alan Wagner and Paul Robinette, 2015, "Towards robots that trust: Human subject validation of the situational conditions for trust", Interaction studies, 16, (1), pp. 89–117
  • Ronald Craig Arkin, Patrick Ulam and Alan Wagner, 2012, "Moral decision making in autonomous systems: Enforcement, moral emotions, dignity, trust, and deception", Proceedings of the IEEE, 100, (3), pp. 571–589
  • Alan Wagner and Ronald C Arkin, 2011, "Acting deceptively: Providing robots with the capacity for deception", International Journal of Social Robotics, 3, (1), pp. 5–26
  • Alan Wagner and Ronald C Arkin, 2008, "Analyzing social situations for human–robot interaction", Interaction Studies, 9, (2), pp. 277–300
  • Alan Wagner, Paul Robinette and Ayanna Howard, , "Modeling the Human-Robot Trust Phenomenon: A Conceptual Framework based on Risk", ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems

Conference Proceedings

  • Sagar Lakhmani, Jacob Langelaan and Alan Wagner, 2018, "Human-intuitable Collision Avoidance for Autonomous and Semi-Autonomous Aerial Vehicles", Phoenix, AZ, pp. 6
  • Sachin Hagaribommanahalli and Alan Wagner, 2018, "Initial Steps towards Quadcopter-based Brick Placement for Construction", Phoenix, AZ, pp. 6
  • Alan Wagner, 2018, "An Autonomous Architecture that Protects the Right to Privacy", New Orleans, LA, pp. 8
  • Alan Wagner and Mollik Nayyar, 2017, "A Theoretical Conceptualization of Overtrust", 8th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE 2017), Springer, Los Angeles, CA, 595
  • Alan Wagner, 2016, "Using Games to Learn Games: Game-Theory Representations as a Source for Guided Social Learning", Kansas City, MO, pp. 42–51
  • Paul Robinette, Alan Wagner and Ayanna M Howard, 2016, "Assessment of robot to human instruction conveyance modalities across virtual, remote and physical robot presence", New York, NY, pp. 1044–1050
  • Paul Robinette, Wenchen Li, Robert Allen, Ayanna M Howard and Alan Wagner, 2016, "Overtrust of robots in emergency evacuation scenarios", Christchurch, New Zealand, pp. 101–108
  • Zsolt Kira, Wenchen Li, Robert Allen and Alan Wagner, 2016, "Leveraging Deep Learning for Spatio-Temporal Understanding of Everyday Environments", New York, NY, pp. 6
  • Alan Wagner, 2015, "The Most Intelligent Robots Are Those That Exaggerate: Examining Robot Exaggeration", Washington, DC, pp. 51-57
  • Paul Robinette, Ayanna M Howard and Alan Wagner, 2015, "Timing is Key for Robot Trust Repair", Paris, France, pp. 574-583
  • Jigar Doshi, Zsolt Kira and Alan Wagner, 2015, "From Deep Learning to Episodic Memories: Creating Categories of Visual Experiences", Atlanta, GA, pp. 15
  • Zsolt Kira, Alan Wagner, Chris Kennedy, Jason Zutty and Grady Tuell, 2015, "STAC: a comprehensive sensor fusion model for scene characterization", Baltimore, MD, pp. 949804–949804
  • Paul Robinette, Alan Wagner and Ayanna M Howard, 2014, "Assessment of robot guidance modalities conveying instructions to humans in emergency situations", Edinburgh, United Kingdom, pp. 1043–1049
  • Paul Robinette, Alan Wagner and Ayanna M Howard, 2014, "Modeling human-robot trust in emergencies", Palo Alto, CA, pp. 6
  • Alan Wagner and Jigar Doshi, 2013, "Who, how, where: Using exemplars to learn social concepts", Bristol, United Kingdom, pp. 481–490
  • Alan Wagner, 2013, "Developing Robots that Recognize When They Are Being Trusted.", Palo Alto, CA, pp. 84-89
  • Paul Robinette, Alan Wagner and Ayanna M Howard, 2013, "Building and maintaining trust between humans and guidance robots in an emergency", Palo Alto, CA, pp. 78-83
  • David Atkinson, Peter Hancock, Robert R Hoffman, John D Lee, Ericka Rovira, Charlene Stokes and Alan Wagner, 2012, "Trust In Computers And Robots: The Uses And Boundaries Of The Analogy To Interpersonal Trust", 56, (1), pp. 303–307
  • Alan Wagner, 2012, "The impact of stereotyping errors on a robot’s social development", San Diego, CA, pp. 1–6
  • Alan Wagner, 2012, "Using cluster-based stereotyping to foster human-robot cooperation", Vilamoura, Portugal, pp. 1615–1622
  • Alan Wagner and Ronald C Arkin, 2011, "Recognizing situations that demand trust", Atlanta, GA, pp. 7–14
  • Alan Wagner, 2011, "Outcome Matrix Based Phrase Selection", Washington, DC, pp. 41-46
  • Alan Wagner and Ronald C Arkin, 2009, "Robot deception: recognizing when a robot should deceive", Daejeon, Korea, pp. 46–54
  • Alan Wagner, 2009, "Creating and using matrix representations of social interaction", San Diego, CA, pp. 125–132
  • Alan Wagner, 2008, "A Representation for Interaction", Pasadena, CA, pp. 13-20
  • Patrick Ulam, Yoichiro Endo, Alan Wagner and Ronald Arkin, 2007, "Integrated mission specification and task allocation for robot teams-design and implementation", Rome, Italy, pp. 4428–4435
  • Alan Wagner and Ronald C Arkin, 2006, "A Framework for Situation-based Social Interaction", Hatfield, United Kingdom, pp. 291–297
  • Alan Wagner, Yoichiro Endo, Patrick Ulam and Ronald C Arkin, 2006, "Multi-robot user interface modeling", Minneapolis, MN, pp. 237–248
  • Alan Wagner and Ronald Arkin, 2004, "Multi-robot communication-sensitive reconnaissance", New Orleans, LA, 5, pp. 4674–4681
  • Alan Wagner and Ronald C Arkin, 2003, "Internalized plans for communication-sensitive robot team behaviors", Las Vegas, NV, pp. 2480–2487


  • Alan Wagner, 2015, "Exploring human-robot trust: Insights from the first 1000 subjects", pp. 485–486
  • Alan Wagner, 2010, "Using stereotypes to understand one’s interactive partner", pp. 1445–1446
  • Allison M Jacobs, Benjamin Fransen, J Malcolm McCurry, Frederick WP Heckel, Alan Wagner and J Gregory Trafton, 2009, "A preliminary system for recognizing boredom", pp. 299–300

Technical Reports

  • Jigar Doshi, Celeste Mason, Alan Wagner and Zsolt Kira, 2014, "Deep Segments: Comparisons between Scenes and their Constituent Fragments using Deep Learning", Technical Report GT-CS-14-07
  • Manish Jain, Albert Xin Jiang, Takashi Kiddo, Keiki Takadama, Eric G Mercer, Neha Rungta, Mark Waser, Alan Wagner, Jennifer Burke, Don Sofge and others, 2014, "Reports of the 2014 AAAI Spring Symposium Series", AI Magazine, 35, (3), pp. 70–76
  • Victor Emeli, Alan Wagner and Charles C Kemp, 2012, "A Robotic System for Autonomous Medication and Water Delivery", Technical report GT-IC-12-01
  • Ronald C Arkin, Alan Wagner and Brittany Duncan, 2009, "Responsibility and lethality for unmanned systems: Ethical pre-mission responsibility advisement", Technical Report GIT-GVU-09-01, pp. 8
  • Patrick Ulam, Yochiro Endo, Alan Wagner and Ronald Arkin, 2006, "Integrated mission specification and task allocation for robot teams-Part 1: Design and implementation"
  • Ronald C Arkin, Yoichiro Endo, Patrick D Ulam and Alan Wagner, 2006, "Integrated Mission Specification and Task Allocation for Robot Teams-Design and Implementation", Technical report GIT-GVU-07-02, pp. 8


  • Alan Wagner, 2009, "The role of trust and relationships in human-robot social interaction"

Research Projects

Honors and Awards

  • Hartz Family Early Career Award, Penn State College of Engineering, 2017
  • Young Investigator Award, Air Force Office of Sponsored Research, 2013
  • Time Magazine’s Top 50 inventions of 2010 (#13), Time Magazine, 2010


Service to Penn State:

Service to External Organizations:




The Penn State Department of Aerospace Engineering, established in 1961 and the only aerospace engineering department in Pennsylvania, is consistently recognized as one of the top aerospace engineering departments in the nation, and is also an international leader in aerospace education, research, and engagement. Our undergraduate program is ranked 15th and our graduate programs are ranked 15th nationally by U.S. News & World Report, while one in 25 holders of a B.S. degree in aerospace engineering in the U.S. earned it from Penn State. Our students are consistently among the most highly recruited by industry, government, and graduate schools nationwide.

The department is built upon the fundamentals of academic integrity, innovation in research, and commitment to the advancement of industry. Through an innovative curriculum and world-class instruction that reflects current industry practice and embraces future trends, Penn State Aerospace Engineering graduates emerge as broadly educated, technically sound aerospace engineers who will become future leaders in a critical industry

Department of Aerospace Engineering

229 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2569