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Michael McHenry


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 198-219

Pasadena, CA 91109

Member of:

3472 - Robotic Systems Staff

Michael McHenry

Group Supervisor


Ive done a variety of work in autonomous navigation of unmanned ground and sea-going vehicles for both DOD and NASA sponsors. Originally, I worked on a small man-packable robot called URBIE. More recently Ive worked on self-localization in GPS-denied environments, porting the MER GESTALT autonomous code to the FIDO research rover, making minor changes to the MER GESTALT flight code to speed up autonomous navigation, and to developing techniques which enable CLARAty and other robotic software components to be distributed across a network.


PhD in Computer Science (1998)
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Master of Electrical Engineering (1987)
Rice University, Houston, TX
Bachelor of Science in Electrical (1986)
Rice University, Houston, TX

Professional Experience

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA Senior Member Technical Staff. 2004-present
Rossum Technologies, Long Beach, CA President. 1998-2004
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA Research Assistant 1992-1998
British Petroleum, Cleveland, OH Engineer 1988-1991

Research Interests

Autonomous navigation, user interfaces for mobile robots, software for distributed systems.

Flight Project and Research Task Involvement

Research Tasks
Distributed Rover Avionics Software
Rover Technology Integration - CLARAty


  1. R. Rieber, M. Stragier, P. Twu, M. McHenry, "Planning for a Martian Road Trip – the Mars2020 Mobility Systems Design," IEEE Aerospace Conference, 01 March 2022.
  2. S. Brooks, T. Litwin, J. Biesiadecki, N. Abcouwer, T. Del Sesto, M. McHenry, S. Myint, P. Twu, D. Wai, "Testing Mars 2020 Flight Software and Hardware in the Surface System Development Environment," IEEE Aerospace Conference, 01 March 2022.
  1. Michael McHenry, Neil Abcouwer, Jeffrey Biesiadecki, Johnny Chang, Tyler Del Sesto, Andrew Johnson, Todd Litwin, Mark Maimone, Jack Morrison, Richard Rieber, Olivier Toupet, Philip Twu, "Mars 2020 Autonomous Rover Navigation," Proceedings of the 43rd AAS Rocky Mountain Section guidance, Navigation and Control Conference, Breckenridge, Colorado, 30 January 2020.
  1. A. Haldemann M. McHenry R. Petras B. Bornstein R. Castano J. Cameron T. Estlin T. Farr D. Gaines A. Jain C. Leff C. Lim I. Nesnas M. Pomerantz M. Powell I. Shu R. Volpe, "Simulation to Evaluate Autonomous Behaviors for Mobile Planetary Surface Science Misions," IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, Montana, 01 March 2007.
  1. M. McHenry, Y. Cheng, and L. Matthies, "Vision-Based Localization in Urban Environments," Proc. SPIE vol 5804: Unmanned Ground Vehicle Technology VII, Orlando, FL, 01 March 2005.
  1. Morfopoulos, A., McHenry, M., and Matthies, L.,, "Reduction of user interaction by autonomy," Performance Metrics for Intelligent Systems 2004, Gaithersburg, MD., 01 August 2004.
  1. 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.