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Member of:
Operable Robotics Group

Dr. Vandi Verma
Assistant Section Manager
(Short description>>)

Vandi Verma is interested in robotic operations, and robotic software and algorithms that enable autonomy and commanding under uncertainty. She is the Chief Engineer for Robotic Operations for the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover. She works on the Mars 2020 Sample Caching System algorithms and flight software, and AEGIS flight software for autonomous science targeting. Since 2008 she has been driving Mars rovers (MER, MSL) and operating the robotic arm and sampling system. She has worked on a number of robotics research projects and has deployed robots in the Arctic, Antarctica and Atacama.

Previously, she led the Europa Lander Advanced Development Autonomy Prototyping team, the development of an onboard planning and execution flight software prototype (MEXEC) for the Europa Clipper mission, developed autonomous science targeting flight software for ChemCam on MSL as part of the AEGIS team, and designed and programmed the SSim flight software simulation used daily for MSL robotic operations. Other positions on MSL included Sample Processing and Acquisition Manager systems engineer, Verification & Validation, Systems Integration & Testing, Flight Software Integrated Testing, and Motor Control.
Prior to joining JPL, at NASA Ames research center, she led the PLEXIL team that developed a formally verifiable autonomous plan execution language and executive that have been deployed on rovers and human spaceflight projects.

She graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a Ph.D. in Robotics in 2005. Her research resulted in computationally efficient particle filter based methods for non-parametric state estimation, with a focus on robot fault detection and classification.

Current projects:
Mars 2020 Rover
Autonomy for Operations Research and Technology Development
Previous projects:
Europa Lander Autonomy Advanced Technology Development
Mars Science Laboratory Rover
Europa Clipper Mission
Mars Exploration Rover
Autonomy and Robotics, NASA Ames:
PLan Interchange Execution Language (PLEXIL), project lead
Autonomous site survey at Haughton crater
Desert RATS robotic EVA inspection
Autonomy for crewed operations
Carnegie Mellon University:
Life in Atacama
Sun-synchronous navigation
Icebraker Lunar Rover Initiative
Robotic Antarctic Meteorite Search

Flight Project and Research Task Involvement

Flight Projects:
2020 - Mars 2020 Rover
2011 - Mars Science Laboratory
2003 - Mars Exploration Rover

Robotic Autonomy
Robotic Operations
Robotics Flight Software
Reasoning under uncertainty
Filtering and state estimation

MSL CHIMRA Tunnel Anomaly Recovery Award, 2017
MSL AEGIS Team Award, 2016
MSL Cached Sample Operations Development Team Award, 2014
NASA Software of the Year Award, Mars Science Laboratory Flight Software Team, 2014
MSL Motor Control Team, NASA Honors Award, 2013
MSL Surface Sampling and Science Systems Team, NASA Honors Award, 2013
MSL Testbed + Simulation Support Equipment Team, NASA Honors Award, 2013
MER Electro-mechanical Failure Mitigation Team Award, NASA Honors Award, 2010
MSL Rover Motion Control Assembly EM Delivery Team Award, 2009
NASA Earth Science & Technology Directorate team award for Intelligent Autonomy Technology Transition Team, 2008
NASA Human-Robot Site Survey Project Team, NASA Honors Award, 2007
NASA Robotic Inspection at Meteor Crater, NASA Honors Award, 2006
Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellowship, 2001
First place, Mobile Robot Programming Contest, CMU, 1997

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