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Benjamin Hockman


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 198-219

Pasadena, CA 91101

Member of:

347F - Robotic Surface Mobility

Benjamin Hockman

Robotics Technologist


Ben Hockman is a Robotics Technologist at JPL in the Robotic Mobility Group. He received is PhD from Stanford University in June 2018, supervised by Prof. Marco Pavone in the Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics. As lead engineer on the “Hedgehog” project, Ben’s graduate work focused on the design, control, and autonomy for the robotic exploration of small solar system bodies, such as asteroids and comets.


Ph.D. Aeronautics and Astronautics
Stanford University [2018]

M.S. Mechanical Engineering
Stanford University [2015]

B.S. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
University of Delaware [2013]

Research Interests

- Autonomous exploration of small bodies
- Planning and decision making for highly stochastic systems
- Mobility in microgravity and extreme terrain
- Dynamic grasping of free-floating objects
- Localization of sensor-deprived robots


  1. B. Hockman, R. G. Reid, I. A. D. Nesnas, and M. Pavone, "Gravimetric Localization on the Surface of Small Bodies," IEEE Aerospace Conference, 01 January 2018.
  1. B. Hockman and M. Pavone, "Stochastic Motion Planning for Hopping Rovers on Small Solar System Bodies," Int. Symp. on Robotics Research, 01 January 2017.
  1. B. Hockman, A. Frick, I. A. D. Nesnas, and M. Pavone, "Design, Control, and Experimentation of Internally-Actuated Rovers for the Exploration of Low-Gravity Planetary Bodies," Journal of Field Robotics, vol. 34, no. 1, 5-24, 01 January 2016.