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Brian  Wilcox's Picture
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Member of:
Other JPL Robotics Personnel
Brian Wilcox
Principal Member of Technical Staff
(Short description>>)

M.S. Electrical Engineering, University of Southern California, 1992
Emphasis in Signal and Image Processing

B.S. Physics, University of California at Santa Barbara, 1973.

B.A. Mathematics, University of California at Santa Barbara, 1973

1999-Current: Principal Investigator for several NASA research tasks in the area of robotic vehicle development for planetary exploration. Recent tasks managed by Mr. Wilcox include the "Robotically-deployed Lunar Telescope" feasibility task and the "Nanorover Outposts" feasibility task, both of which led to development of one or more working prototypes as part of the feasibility demonstration.

1985-2005: Supervisor of the Robotic Vehicles Group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The Robotic Vehicles Group was responsible for the control and navigation of the Sojourner Rover, which explored part of Mars in the summer of 1997, including design of the electronics and navigation sensors, development of the control software including all elements (command sequencing, power control, communication codes and handshaking, instrument deployment, as well as hazard detection and avoidance), and mission operations. The group is currently responsible for similar activities for both the MUSES CN Nanorover as well as the Mars '03/05 "Athena" rover. Mr. Wilcox was personally responsible for conceiving and developing the stereo camera and laser ranging system used on the Sojourner rover, and for the system design concept of the MUSES CN nanorover.

1982-1985: Senior Engineer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Responsible for system engineering of rover and robot systems, including computing, software, power, and communications for testbed rovers and robots.

Flight Project and Research Task Involvement

Research Tasks:
ATHLETE Low Gravity Testbed
ATHLETE: Rough and Steep Terrain Lunar Surface Mobility
Nano Rover
Prototype Grapple Arm for Space Exploration Vehicle

Chair, Space Automation and Robotics Technical Committee, American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2000-2004.

Member, Committee on Autonomous Vehicles in Support of Naval Operations, Naval Studies Board, National Academy of Sciences, 2002-present.

Awarded the JPL Award for Excellence, JPL's highest award, in May 1999 for proposing the Miniature Mars Ascent Vehicle. In the words of JPL Director Ed Stone at the award ceremony, this effort "enabled Mars sample return."

Awarded the NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal for his work in development of Planetary Rover systems in May, 1992

Holds six US patents in the areas of robotic vehicles and VLSI for robotic perception.

Graduated with highest honors (magna cum laude) from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1973. Awarded the Arnold Nordseick memorial prize that year as the outstanding graduating senior in Physics. Awarded Research Associate Fellowships in conjunction with both Caltech and U.C. Berkeley Ph.D. programs in theoretical physics (1973, not exercised).

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