Richard Volpe, Manager
Jeffery Hall, Deputy Manager
Welcome to the JPL Robotics website! Here you'll find detailed descriptions of the activities of the Mobility and Robotic Systems Section, as well as related robotics efforts around the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. We are approximately 150 engineers working on all aspects of robotics for space exploration and related terrestrial applications. We write autonomy software that drives rovers on Mars, and operations software to monitor and control them from Earth. We do the same for their instrument-placement and sampling arms, and are developing new systems with many limbs for walking and climbing. To achieve mobility off the surface, we are creating prototypes of airships which would fly through the atmospheres of Titan and Venus, and drills and probes which could go underground on Mars and Europa.
To enable all of these robots to interact with their surroundings, we make them see with cameras and measure their environments with other sensors. Based on these measurements, the robots control themselves with algorithms also developed by our research teams. We capture the control-and-sensor-processing software in unifying frameworks, which enable reuse and transfer among our projects. In the course of developing this technology, we build real end-to-end systems as well as high-fidelity simulations of how the robots would work on worlds we are planning to visit.
Please use the menu at left to navigate to the view of our work that is most important to you. Our application domains are described in general terms, and then specifically in the context of flight projects and research tasks. Personnel are described in terms of the groups that constitute the section, as well as the people who constitute the groups. Most of our major robot systems are described, as are the laboratory facilities in which they are developed and exercised. For more detailed information, our publications may be accessed through a search engine, or more recent news may be browsed. Finally, to provide context to our current work, our charter is documented, the history of JPL robotics is described, and links to other related work are provided.