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Edward  Tunstel's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 198-219
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
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Member of:
Former JPL Robotics Personnel
Edward Tunstel
Senior Robotics Engineer
(Short description>>)

Dr. Tunstel received the B.S. and M.E. degrees in Mechanical Engineering, with a concentration in robotics, from Howard University. His thesis addressed the use of symbolic computation for automated modeling of robotic manipulators / arms. In 1989 he joined the Robotic Intelligence Group at JPL supporting research and development activities on NASA planetary rover projects. As a JPL Fellow he received the Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Mexico (UNM), where he became affiliated with the NASA Center for Autonomous Control Engineering (ACE). His dissertation addresses distributed fuzzy control of adaptive hierarchical behavior-based systems and its application to mobile robot navigation.
In his current capacity as a Senior Robotics Engineer, he directs engineering activities for robotics technology development. He also develops autonomous control and navigation algorithms, software, and systems for planetary rover research and flight projects. He recently served as Lead Systems Engineer for the Field Integrated Design and Operations (FIDO) rover technology task. Other recent and current assignments include the 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) flight project, Task Manager for a study on disseminating NASA robotics software to universities, researcher for a study on future large space telescope technology, JPL PI/Task Manager for distributed science instrument system mobility and surveying, and Robotics Space Exploration Technology Program management assistance. For the MER mission, he served as a Flight Systems Engineer specializing in surface mobility & autonomous navigation, and now serves on the surface operations Spacecraft/Rover Engineering Team as Lead of its mobility and robotic arm sub-element.
Dr. Tunstel has authored over 100 journal, book chapter and conference publications, and has edited 3 books in his areas of expertise. He is a Senior Member of IEEE and member-at-large of the IEEE SMC Society Board of Governors. He is also a NSBE member-at-large and Chief Technologist of NSBE Space, an alumni special interest group of NSBE. He has held memberships in the AAAI, Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, the New York Academy of Sciences, and ASME. He is an Associate Editor and Editorial Board Member of four international engineering journals. He has also served as NASA Technical Monitor for undergraduate student research programs and for NASA Faculty Awards for Research as well as co-advisor and committee member for graduate thesis and dissertation research at several universities.

Ph.D. Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of New Mexico
M.E. Mechanical Engineering, Howard University, Washington, DC
B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Howard University, Washington, DC

Twenty years of engineering research and development in robotics, automation, and applications of computational and artificial intelligence to autonomous control systems. Experienced as senior control and navigation researcher and software/ systems engineer on major robotics projects and NASA flight missions. Team leadership and independent research experience on robot prototype design, fabrication, programming, integration, experimentation and validation projects as well as flight system development and planetary surface operations. Experienced as writer, reviewer, and editor of engineering publications and research proposals as well as professional society meeting organizer.
Task Manager, Distributed Spectrometer Mobility & Surveying (2004-)
Surface Ops Lead, Mobility/Robotic Arm Subsystem: MER Spacecraft/Rover Engineering Team (2003-)
Task Manager, University Robotics Software Study (2002-2003)
Flight Systems Engineer: MER Surface Mission Phase Team, Autonomous Navigation (2001-2003)
Lead System Engineer: FIDO Rover (2000-2002)
Co-Investigator: Safe Navigation of Planetary Rovers on Challenging Terrain (1998-2000)
Flight Software Engineer: MUSES-CN Asteroid Rover Project (1998-2000)
Cognizant/Software Engineer: Nanorover Technology/Nanorover Outposts (1997-2000)
JPL Fellow, UNM (1992-1996)
GDS Software Engineer: TOPEX/Poseidon (1990-1992)
AI/Robotics Researcher: Robby-Rocky Series Rovers (1989-1992)
Flight Projects
Current: Mars Exploration Rovers
Past: MUSES-CN, TOPEX/Poseidon

Flight Project and Research Task Involvement

Flight Projects:
2003 - Mars Exploration Rover

Research Tasks:
Distributed Spectroscopy for Mobile Science Laboratories

Mobile robot navigation, autonomous control, cooperative robotics, and applications of fuzzy logic and other soft computing techniques to intelligent control systems synthesis.

  • JPL SPOT Award, NASA SBIR Subtopic Management (2005)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award - MER 1st/2nd Ext. Mission Teams (2005)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award - MER Flt. System Engineering Team (2004)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award - MER Avionics Team (GSE Dev.) (2004)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award - MER Project Operations Team (2004)
  • NASA Space Act Award - Cognitive Sensor Technology (2003)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award - Safe Rover Navigation Team (2002)
  • JPL Notable Org. Value Added award - Improvement & Innovation (2001)
  • NASA/US Dept of Interior W.T. Pecora Group Award - TOPEX/Poseidon (1998)
  • JPL Minority Fellowship (1992)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award - TOPEX S/C GDS Sci. Data S/S (1993)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award - Robotic Intelligence Team (1991)

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