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Arturo Rankin

Address:

4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 264-630

Pasadena, CA 91109

Member of:

347R - Operable Robotics

Arturo Rankin, PhD

Group Leader

Biography

Arturo Rankin is a member of the Robot Operations Group (347K) of the Autonomous Systems Division. He graduated from the University of Florida in 1997 with a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. Since joining the technical staff at JPL in April, 1997, he has functioned as a task manager for MER and DoD projects, MSL lead for Flight Software, Mobility/Mechanisms downlink, and the traction control test team, and a member of MER mission operations, InSight Testbed Lander, and LSOT Testbed Lander teams, as well as a cognizant engineer. He led the effort that successfully integrated the Field D* global path planner into MER flight software.
He has also developed obstacle detection and terrain mapping software for a variety of reimbursable unmanned ground vehicle programs, such as Demo III Experimental Unmanned Ground Vehicle, Perception for Off-Road Robots, Robotic Collaborative Technology Alliances, Future Combat System Autonomous Navigation System, and Sensor Fusion for Low-Cost Perception. Prior to arriving at JPL, he functioned as the software lead for path planning and path following strategies at the University of Florida for a variety of ordnance detection and removal projects sponsored by Wright Laboratories, Tyndall AFB (Rapid Runway Repair, SOCS, Joint Amphibious Mine Clearance, Remote Excavation Vehicle Systems).

Education


Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering (1997)

University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

Dissertation: Development of Path Tracking Software for an Autonomous Steered-Wheeled Robotic Vehicle and its Trailer
Research advisior: Professor Carl D. Crane III


M.S. in Mechanical Engineering (1993)

University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

Thesis: Path Planning and Path Execution Software for an Autonomous Non-Holonomic Robotic Vehicle


B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (1987)

Catholic University of America, Washington D.C.

Professional Experience

Robotics Systems Engineer IV, JPL

Robot Operations Group

Principle investigator/task manager/CogE for various research tasks funded by NASA, DARPA, ONR, and U.S. Army sponsors
Manage reimbursable and/or flight task(s), support MSL and MER operations, develop/test/deliver path planning, terrain classification, and/or terrain mapping software to reimbursable and flight tasks, and propose new work.


Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)

Flight Software Lead (6/2017 - present)

Mobility Downlink Team Lead (3/2015 - 2016)

Mobility/Mechanisms Downlink Team Lead (2016 - present)

Traction Control Test Team Lead (6/2015 - present)

Quarterly Mobility trending briefing to the project
Periodic wheel wear assessment and briefing to the project
Lead Mobility Incident Surprise Anomaly (ISA) investigations
Manage on-console downlink assessment, training, and schedule
Manage Mobility tactical and trending tool development
Manage Mobility testbed testing
Perform verification and validation testing of AutoNav software on VSTB testbed


NNN13R265T: ONR Sensor Fusion for Low-Cost Perception

Task Manager (3/2012 - 3/2016)

JPL is tasked with designing and building a low-cost perception system for an internally transportable vehicle (ITV)


Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Operations

Member of the Mobility/IDD downlink analysis team (10/2006 - present)

Perform assessment of Mobility and IDD engineering downlink data


NMO715701: ONR Autonomy For Unmanned Sea Surface Vehicles

Camera System Cognizant Engineer (5/2011 - 9/2012)

EO and thermal infrared sensor selection for a HammerHead high resolution (4kx4k) perception system containing left and right looking stereo pairs of cameras


InSight TestBed Lander

Camera System Cognizant Engineer (7/2011 - 5/2012)

Design and implement imaging software and sequences for acquiring stereo pairs of images from a single robotic arm camera for MIPL processing


Lunar Surface Operations TestBed (LSOT) Lander

Camera System Cognizant Engineer (4/2010 - 4/2011)

Design, implement, and document terrain assessment software for digging hazards


NMO715443 - ARL Robotics Collaborative Technology Alliances (RCTA)

Cognizant Engineer (04/2004 – 12/2009)

JPL software lead on obstacle detection, terrain mapping, and water/mud
detection development
Integrated multi-cue water detection and localization on an unmanned ground vehicle
Accomplished autonomous navigation around a water body
Implemented 1st generation mud detector using color stereo and polarization sensors
Implemented stereo-based traversability cost analysis in a scrolling world map


TDA2735 - D* Integration into MER

Task Manager (05/2005 - 03/2007)

Led the effort that successfully integrated the Field D* global path planner into MER flight software


NMO715748 - Perception System for Army Future Combat System (FCS) Autonomous Navigation System (ANS)

Task Manager (2/2010 – 4/2010)
Cognizant Engineer (04/2004 - 06/2007)


Managing passive perception software development
Delivered water detection software to the program
Performed LWIR stereo and rolling shutter CMOS stereo sensor evaluations for passive perception system


NMO715441 - DARPA Perception for Off-Road Robots (PerceptOR)

Cognizant Engineer (03/2001 - 03/2004)

Managed passive perception system hardware and software development, integration, and testing
JPL software lead on passive perception obstacle detection and terrain mapping
Implemented a set of geometry-based discrete obstacle detectors (negative, positive, excessive slope, low overhang, high density)
Implemented combined geometry and thermal signature based negative obstacle detection


ARL Demo III Experimental Unmanned Ground Vehicle

Cognizant Engineer (01/2002 - 07/2002)

System Engineer (04/1997 - 01/2002


JPL autonomous mobility software lead for stereo-vision related positive
obstacle detection, negative obstacle detection, tree-line detection (out to 100 meters), low-bandwidth terrain mapping, and active gaze control.


DARPA Tactical Mobile Robots (TMR)

System Engineer (09/1998 - 11/1999)

Assisted port of CMU Morphin path planner to Urbie
Provided path following software used in leader/follower behavior

Research Interests

Robotic Vehicle Path Following

Dissertation: “Development of Path Tracking Software for an Autonomous Steered-Wheeled Robotic Vehicle and its Trailer”

Robotic Vehicle Path Planning

M.S. Thesis: “Path Planning and Path Execution Software for an Autonomous Non-Holonomic Robotic Vehicle”

Terrain Perception
Binary obstacle detection (negative, positive, excessive slope, low overhang, density based)
Multi-cue obstacle detection (e.g., geometry and thermal)
Multi-sensor obstacle detection
Terrain traversability analysis
Terrain mapping
Sensor characterization
Water and mud detection for terrestrial applications

Flight Project and Research Task Involvement

Research Tasks
D* Integration into MER

Publications

2022
  1. A. Maimone, N. Patel, A. Sabel, A. Hollaway, A. Rankin, "Visual Odometry Thinking While Driving for the Curiosity Mars Rover’s Three-Year Test Campaign: Impact of Evolving Constraints on Verification and Validation," 2022 IEEE Aerospace Conference, 9 March 2022, 29 April 2022.
  2. V. Verma, F. Hartman, A. Rankin, M. Maimone, T. Del Sesto, O. Toupet, E. Graser, S. Myint, K. Davis, D. Klein, J. Koch, S. Brooks, P. Bailey , H. Justice, M. Dolci, H. Ono, "First 210 solar days of Mars Perseverance Robotic Operations - Mobility, Robotics Arm, Sampling, and Helicopter," IEEE Aerospace Conference, 05 March 2022.
2021
  1. A. Rankin, N. Patel, E. Graser, J. Wang, K. Rink, "Assessing Mars Curiosity Rover Wheel Damage," IEEE Aerospace Conference, 10 October 2021.
  2. A. Rankin, A. Holloway, J. Carsten, M. Maimone, "Integration of an Arm Kinematics Hot Patch Onboard the Curiosity Rover," 2021 IEEE Aerospace Conference, 01 March 2021.
  3. Arturo Rankin, Mark Maimone, Jeffrey Biesiadecki, Nikunj Patel, Dan Levine, Olivier Toupet, "Mars Curiosity Rover Mobility Trends During the First 7 Years," Journal of Field Robotics, 09 January 2021.
2020
  1. E. Graser, S. McGill, A. Rankin, A. Bielawiec, "Rimmed Wheel Performance on the Mars Science Laboratory Scarecrow Rover," IEEE Aerospace Conference, 01 March 2020.
  2. A. Rankin, M. Maimone, J. Biesiadecki, N. Patel, D. Levine, O. Toupet, "Driving Curiosity: Mars Rover Mobility Trends During the First Seven Years," 2020 IEEE Aerospace Conference, 01 March 2020.
2019
  1. O. Toupet, J. Biesiadecki, A. Rankin, A. Steffy, G. Meirion-Griffith, D. Levine, M. Schadegg, M. Maimone, "Terrain-Adaptive Wheel Speed Control on the Curiosity Mars rover: Algorithm and Flight Results," Journal of Field Robotics, 37, 5, 699-728, 01 August 2019.
2016
  1. D. Lee, A. Rankin, A. Huertas, J. Nash, G. Ahuja, and L. Matthies, "LWIR passive perception system for stealthy unmanned ground vehicle night operations," SPIE Defense + Security Conference: Unmanned Systems Technology XVIII, Baltimore, 20 April 2016.
2014
  1. A. Trebi-Ollennu, A. L. Rankin, Y. Cheng, A. Ansar, J. L. Carsten, W. S. Kim, A. Huertas, I. A. Nesnas, and A. Diaz-Calderon, "Chapter 10: Advances in Space Robotics Autonomy," AIAA, Vol 244 (Computational Intelligence in Aerospace Sciences: Progress in Astronautics and Aeronautics), Edited by Massimiliano Vasile and Victor M. Becerra, ISBN:978-1-62410-260-8, 325-369, 01 January 2014.
2013
  1. A. Trebi-Ollennu, A. Rankin, Y. Cheng, K. Tso, R. Deen, H. Aghazarian, E. Kulczycki, R. Bonitz, and L. Alkalai, "Instrument Deployment Testbed: For Planetary Surface Geophysical Exploration," Proceedings of the IEEE Aerospace Conference, 01 March 2013.
2012
  1. A. Rankin and L. Matthies, "Passive Sensor Evaluation for Unmanned Ground Vehicle Mud Detection," Journal of Field Robotics, 27(4), 473-491, 24 September 2012.
  2. A. Trebi-Ollennu, K. S. Ali, A. L. Rankin, K. S. Tso, C. Assad, J. B. Matthews, R. G. Deen, D. A. Alexander, R. Toda, H. Manohara, M. Wolf, J. R. Wright, J. Yen, F. Hartman, R. G. Bonitz, and A. R. Sirota,, "Lunar Surface Operations Testbed (LSOT)," Proceedings of the IEEE Aerospace Conference, 01 March 2012.
2011
  1. A. Rankin, L. Matthies, and P. Bellutta, "Daytime Water Detection based on Sky Reflections," Proceedings of the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 01 May 2011.
  2. A. Rankin, A. Huertas, L. Matthies, M. Bajracharya, C. Assad, S. Brennan, P. Bellutta, and G. Sherwin, "Unmanned Ground Vehicle Perception using Thermal Infrared Cameras," Proceedings of SPIE, Vol. 8045, 01 April 2011.
  3. A. Rankin, T. Ivanov, and S. Brennan, "Methods for Evaluating the Performance of Unmanned Ground Vehicle Water Detection," International Journal of Intelligent Control and Systems, Vol.16 No.2, 01 January 2011.
2010
  1. A. Rankin and L. Matthies, "Daytime Water Detection Based on Color Variation," IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 01 October 2010.
  2. A. Rankin, T., Ivanov, and S. Brennan, "Evaluating the Performance of Unmanned Ground Vehicle Water Detection," Performance Metrics for Intelligent Systems Workshop (PerMIS), 01 September 2010.
  3. A. Rankin, M. Bajracharya, A. Huertas, A. Howard, B. Moghaddam, S. Brennan, A. Ansar, B. Tang, M. Turmon, and L. Matthies, "Stereo-vision based Perception Capabilities Developed during the Robotics Collaborative Technology Alliances program," Proceedings of SPIE, Vol. 7692, 01 April 2010.
2009
  1. A. Rankin, A. Huertas, L. Matthies, "Stereo Vision Based Terrain Mapping for Off-Road Autonomous Navigation," Proceedings of SPIE Vol. 7332, 01 April 2009.
  2. J. Carsten, A. Rankin, D. Ferguson, T. Stentz, "Global Planning on the Mars Exploration Rovers: Software Integration and Surface Testing," Journal of Field Robotics, Volume 26, Issue 4, 337-357, 01 April 2009.
2008
  1. A. Rankin and L. Matthies, "Daytime Mud Detection for Unmanned Ground Vehicle Autonomous Navigation," Proceedings of the 26th Army Science Conference, 01 December 2008.
2007
  1. A. Howard, L. H. Matthies, A. Huertas, M. Bajracharya and A. Rankin, "Detecting Pedestrian with Stereo Vision: Operation of Autonomous Ground Vehicles in Dynamic Environments," Proceedings of the International Symposium of Robotics Research, 26 November 2007.
  2. S. Hayati, A. Rankin, W. Kim, P. Leger, S. Chien, and K. Ali, "Advanced Robotics Technology Infusion to the NASA Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Project," 6th IFAC Symposium on Intelligent Autonomous Vehicles, 03 September 2007.
  3. A. Rankin, A. Huertas, L. Matthies, "Nighttime Negative Obstacle Detection for Off-Road Autonomous Navigation," SPIE Defense & Security Symposion: Unmanned Systems Technology IX Conference, 01 April 2007.
  4. J. Carsten, A. Rankin, D. Ferguson, and A. Stentz, "Global Path Planning on-board the Mars Exploration Rovers," IEEE Aerospace Conference, 01 March 2007.
2006
  1. A. Rankin and L. Matthies, "Daytime Water Detection and Localization for Unmanned Ground Vehicle Autonomous Navigation," Proceedings of the 25th Army Science Conference, 01 November 2006.
2005
  1. A. Rankin, A. Huertas, L. Matthies, "Evaluation of Stereo Vision Obstacle Detection Algorithms for Off-Road Autonomous Navigation," Proceedings of the 32nd AUVSI Symposium on Unmanned Systems, 01 June 2005.
  2. A. Rankin, C. Bergh, S. Goldberg, P. Bellutta, A. Huertas, L. Matthies, "Passive Perception System for Day/Night Autonomous Off-Road Navigation," Proc. SPIE vol?5804: Unmanned Ground Vehicle Technology VII, Orlando, FL, 01 March 2005.
  3. A. Huertas, L. Matthies, A. Rankin, "Stereo-Vision Based Tree Traversability Analysis for Autonomous Off-Road Navigation," Proceedings of the IEEE Workshop on Applications of Computer Vision, Breckenridge, CO, 01 January 2005.
2004
  1. A. Rankin, L. Matthies, A. Huertas, "Daytime Water Detection by Fusing Multiple Cues for Autonomous Off-Road Navigation," Proceedings of the 24th Army Science Conference, 01 November 2004.
2003
  1. L. Matthies and A. Rankin, "Negative obstacle detection by thermal signature," Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Las Vegas, 01 October 2003.
2002
  1. A. Talukder, R. Manduchi, A. Rankin, L. Matthies, "Fast and reliable obstacle detection and segmentation for cross-country navigation," Proceeding of the 2002 Intelligent Vehicles Conference, France, 01 June 2002.
  2. R. Hogg, A. Rankin, S. Roumeliotis, M. McHenry, D. Helmick, C. Bergh, L. Matthies, "Algorithms and sensors for small robot path following," Proceedings of the 2002 International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Washington D.C., 01 May 2002.
2001
  1. R. Hogg, A. Rankin, M. McHenry, D. Helmick, C. Bergh, S. Roumeliotis, and L. Matthies, "Sensors and algorithms for small robot leader/follower behavior," Proceedings of the SPIE AeroSense Symposium. Orlando, 01 April 2001.
2000
  1. P. Bellutta, R. Manduchi, L. Matthies, K. Owens, A. Rankin, "Terrain perception for Demo III," Proceedings of the 2000 Intelligent Vehicles Conference, Dearborn, MI, 326-331, 01 October 2000.
  2. L. Matthies, Y. Xiong, R. Hogg, D. Zhu, A. Rankin, B. Kennedy, M. Hebert, M. Maclachlan, R. Won, C. Frost, G. Sukhatme, M. McHenry, S. Goldberg, "A Portable Autonomous Urban Reconnaissance Robot," Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Intelligent Autonomous Systems, Venice, Italy, 01 July 2000.
1998
  1. A. Rankin, K. Owens, L. Matthies, T. Litwin, "Terrain Adaptive Gaze and Velocity Control for UGV Obstacle Detection," Proceedings of the 1998 AUVSI Conference, 363-375, 01 June 1998.
  2. L. Matthies, T. Litwin, K. Owens, A. Rankin, K. Murphy, D. Coombs, J. Gilsinn, T. Hong, S. Legowik, M, Nashman, and B. Yoshimi, "Performance Evaluation of UGV Obstacle Detection with CCD/FLIR Stereo Vision and LADAR," Proceedings of the IEEE Workshop on Perception for Mobile Agents, Santa Barbara, CA, 01 June 1998.
1997
  1. A. Rankin, C. Crane, J. Duffy, "Modeling the Steering Behavior of an Autonomous Land Vehicle," Proceedings of the IASTED International Conference on Applied Modeling and Simulation, 404-407, 01 July 1997.
  2. A. Rankin, "Development of Path Tracking Software for an Autonomous Steered-Wheeled Robotic Vehicle and Its Trailer," Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Florida, 01 January 1997.
1996
  1. C. Crane, S. Cunningham, D. Armstrong, A. Rankin, D. Novick, J. Wit, and J. Duffy, "Development of an Autonomous Navigation Teleremote Mapping System for Application to Heavy Construction Equipment," Proceedings of the 5th UK Mechatronics Forum International Conference, Guimaraes, Portugal, 01 September 1996.
  2. A. Rankin and C. Crane, "A Multi-purpose Off-line Path Planner Based on an A* Search Algorithm," Proceedings of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conferences, 01 August 1996.
  3. A. Rankin, C. Crane, J. Duffy, "Simulating the Motion of an Nonholonomic Robot and its Trailer," Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium on Advances in Robot Kinematics, Portoroz-Bernardin, Slovenia, 277-286, 01 June 1996.
  4. S. Cunningham, C. Crane, D. Armstrong, A. Rankin, D. Novick, J. Wit, and J. Duffy, "Development and Tuning of an Autonomous Control System for Application to Heavy Construction Equipment," Proceedings of the 1996 International Symposium on Robotics and Manufacturing, Montpellier, France, 01 May 1996.
  5. A. Rankin, C. Crane, D. Armstrong, H. Brown, A. Nease, "Autonomous Path Planning Navigation System Used for Site Characterization," Proceedings of the SPIE 10th Annual AeroSense Symposium, Vol. 2738, Orlando, FL, 176-186, 01 April 1996.
1995
  1. D. Armstrong, C. Crane, A. Rankin, R. Rogers, J. Wit, and D. Novick, "Navigation of an Autonomous Survey Vehicle for the Localization of Unexploded Ordnance," Proceedings of the Conference on Technical Assessment for Unmanned Ground Vehicles, Institute for Defense Analysis Document D-187, Alexandria, VA, 343-357, 01 October 1995.
  2. C. Crane, D. Armstrong, and A. Rankin, "Autonomous Navigation of Heavy Construction Equipment," Robotics in Civil Engineering Special Issue of the Microcomputers in Civil Engineering Journal, Vol. 10, No. 5, 357-370, 01 January 1995.
  3. C. Crane, A. Rankin, D. Armstrong, J. Wit, and D. Novick, "An Evaluation of INS and GPS for Autonomous Navigation," Proceedings of the 2nd IFAC Conference on Intelligent Autonomous Vehicles, Espoo, Finland, 205-213, 01 January 1995.
1994
  1. D. Armstrong, C. Crane, A. Rankin, A. Nease, and E. Brown, "Autonomous Location of Hazardous Waste and Unexploded Ordnance," Intelligent Automation and Soft Computing: Trends in Research, Development, and Applications, Vol. 1, Proceedings of the First World Automation Congress, Maui, Hawaii, 263-268, 01 August 1994.
  2. A. Rankin and C. Crane, "Off-line Path Planning Using an A* Search Algorithm," Proceedings of Florida Recent Advances in Robotics, Gainesville, Florida, 01 April 1994.
  3. A. Rankin, C. Crane, D. Armstrong, "Navigation of an Autonomous Robot Vehicle," Robotics for Challenging Environments, Proceedings of the ASCE Specialty Conference on Robotics for Challenging Environments, Albuquerque, NM, 44-51, 01 February 1994.
1993
  1. A. Rankin, "Path Planning and Path Execution Software for an Autonomous Nonholonomic Robot Vehicle," MS Thesis, University of Florida, 01 January 1993.