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Richard Petras


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 198-219
Pasadena, CA 91109






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Richard Petras

Member of Technical Staff


Rich is interested in distributed computing and avionics for planetary rovers.
He is involved in software development and testing of rover navigation for
both flight and research vehicles and the development of software architectures
for autonomous vehicles.

As a member of the SOOPS team, Rich is studying science operations on real and
simulated rovers. He was also one of the original developers of the CLARAty
robotic architecture for planetary rovers. He is also participating in the DARPA
Grand Challenge as a member of Team Caltech.

Work at JPL included testing and operation of the autonomous navigation
software for the twin MER rovers Spirit and Opportunity, leading the Distributed
Rover Avionics Software Research and Technology Development Task which worked toward
developing a software architecture for advanced distributed avionics modules and leading
the development of the Rocky 8 research rover.

Past work at JPL as a member of the Long Range Science Rover (LRSR) Team
involved design of the ORCAA architecture for the
Rocky 7 research rover, development of algorithms for an articulated
mast and low level software for motor control, vision systems and science

Before coming to JPL Rich worked on Space Shuttle and Space Station avionics
for IBM Federal Systems Division (later Loral Space Information Systems)
implementing redundant hardware and software.


Rich graduated from Drexel University in 1985 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.
He got his M.S. in Space Sciences from the University of Houston, Clear Lake in 1994

Professional Experience

Current Projects

Past Projects


  1. Tunstel, Maimone, Trebi-Ollennu, Yen, Petras, and Willson, "Mars Exploration Rover Mobility and Robotic Arm Operational Performance," October 2005 IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics conference proceedings, Hawaii, USA., 10 October 2005.