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Richard Volpe

Address:

Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 198-219
4800 Oak Grove Drive

Pasadena, CA 91109

Phone:

818-354-6328

Fax:

818-354-9973

Richard Volpe, PhD

Deputy Directorate Technologist

Biography

Richard Volpe was Manager of the Mobility and Robotic Systems Section (347) of the Autonomous Systems Division (34) from 2004 - 2021. The section is a team of over 100 robotics engineers doing research and spaceflight implementation of robotic systems for Roving, Digging, Ballooning, Drilling, and other modes of in-situ planetary exploration. Key capabilities include vision sensor processing, advanced controls man-machine interfaces, simulation, and system design. Richards research interests include: natural terrain mobile robots, real-time sensor-based control, manipulation, robot design, software architectures, and path planning.

Additionally, Richard is a member of JPLs Science and Technology Management Committee. The STMC establishes and enhances a science and technology research and development program that serves the programmatic and strategic goals of JPL.

Also, from 2007-2008, Richard joined the Phoenix Mars Mission Robotic Arm operations team, as additional duty.

From 2001 through 2004, Richard served as the manager of Mars Regional Mobility and Subsurface Access in JPLs Space Exploration Technology Program Office. In addition to guiding technology development for future robotic exploration of Mars and the Moon, he has been actively involved in 2003 & 2011 rover mission development, and 2007 lander mission operations. This has included managing internal JPL rover technology development, as well as external university research funded by the Mars Technology Program .

Richard received his M.S. (1986) and Ph.D. (1990) in Applied Physics from Carnegie Mellon University, where he was a US Air Force Laboratory Graduate Fellow. His thesis research concentrated on real-time force and impact control of robotic manipulators. In December 1990, he became a Member of the Technical Staff at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. Until 1994, he was a member of the Remote Surface Inspection Project, investigating sensor-based control technology for telerobotic inspection of the International Space Station. Starting in 1994, he led the development of Rocky 7, a next generation mobile robot prototype for extended-traverse sampling missions on Mars. In 1997, he received a NASA Exceptional Achievement Award for this work, which led to the design concepts for the 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers mission. In 1999 and 2000, he served as the System Technologist for the Athena-Rover, then part of a 2003 Mars Sample Return Project. Until mid 2001, he was the Principal Investigator for the CLARAty and Long Range Science Rover Research Projects.

Education

Ph.D. in Applied Physics (1990) from Carnegie Mellon University
Research Area: Robot arm force control and obstacle avoidance.
Research Advisor: Prof. Pradeep Khosla
M.S. in Physics (1986) from Carnegie Mellon University
B.S. in Physics (1984) from Loyola College Maryland
Senior Thesis: Computer Control of a Robot Arm.

Professional Experience

Section Manager, Mobility and Robotics Systems (2004-present)
Corresponding Co-Chair, IEEE RAS Space Robotics Technical Committee (2010-present)
Robotics Program Manager, Mars Technology Program (2001-2004)
System Engineer, Athena Rover Project (1998-2001)
CLARAty PI, Coupled Layer Architecture for Robotic Autonomy (12/99-8/01)
Long Range Science Rover
Task manager (3/99-8/01)
Cognizant Eng. (3/95-3/99)
Manipulation Lead (10/93-3/95)
Remote Surface Inspection sensor-based controls lead (12/90-10/93)

Hosted Workshops

Research Interests

Natural terrain mobile robots, real-time sensor-based control, manipulation, robot design, software architecture, and path planning.

Awards

JPL Level-A Bonus Award 2003
US Patent 1997
Ten time NASA Class 1 New Technology Innovator 1995-1998.
NASA Exception Achievement Medal, 1997.
JPL Notable Organizational Value-Added Team Award, 1997.
Best Video Award, IEEE International Conference on Robotics
and Automation 1994. (video)
US Air Force Laboratory Graduate Fellowship, 1987-1990.
Research Assistantship, Carnegie Mellon University, 1986-1987.
Teaching Assistantship, Carnegie Mellon University, 1984-1986.
Summer Research Assistantship, The Hubble Space Telescope
Science Institute, 1984.
Loyola College Physics Medal, 1984.
Induction into Sigma Pi Sigma the Physics Honor Society, 1984.

Flight Project and Research Task Involvement

Flight Projects
Phoenix Robotic Arm (RA)
Research Tasks
DARPA Urban Challenge

Publications

2020
  1. R. Volpe, "Task Space Angular Velocity Blending For Real-Time Trajectory Generation," U.S. Patent No. 5602968, 17 September 2020.
  2. R. Volpe and P. Khosla, "Manipulator Control with Superquadric Artificial Potential Functions: Theory and Experiments," IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, <i>Special Issue on Unmanned Vehicles and Intelligent Systems</i>, 20(6), 17 September 2020.
2018
  1. R. Volpe, "2018 Robotics Activities at JPL," International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS), Madrid Spain, 4 June 2018., 04 June 2018.
2014
  1. R. Volpe, "2014 Robotics Activities at JPL," International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS), Montreal, Canada, 17 June 2014.
2012
  1. R. Volpe, "2012 Robotics Activities at JPL," International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS), Turin, Italy, 05 September 2012.
2009
  1. R. Arvidson, R. Bonitz, M. Robinson, J. Carsten, R. Volpe, A. Trebi-Ollennu, M. Mellon, P. Chu,4 K. R. Davis, J. Wilson, A. Shaw, R. Greenberger, K. Siebach, T. Stein, S. Cull, W. Goetz, R. Morris,6 D. Ming, H. Keller, M. Lemmon, H. Sizemore, and M. Mehta, "Results From The Mars Phoenix Lander Robotic Arm Experiment," Geophys. Res., 114, E00E02, doi:10.1029/2009JE003408, 02 October 2009.
  2. R. Volpe and R. Doyle, "Recent Robotics Developments at NASA/JPL," Journal of the Robotics Society of Japan, 27(5), 01 June 2009.
  3. R. Bonitz, L. Shiraishi, M. Robinson, J. Carsten, R. Volpe, A. Trebi-Ollennu, R. Arvidson, P. Chu, J. Wilson, K. Davis, "The Phoenix Mars Lander Robotic Arm," Proceedings of the IEEE Aerospace Conference (CDROM), 2.0104, 07 March 2009.
  4. Shaw, A.; Arvidson, R. E.; Keller, H. U.; Lemmon, M.; Mellon, M. T.; Trebi-Ollennu, A.; Robinson, M.; Siebach, K.; Volpe, R., "Phoenix Mission Trenching in Arctic Mars," 40th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Woodlands, Texas, 01 March 2009.
2007
  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.
2005
  1. R. Volpe, "Rover Technology Development and Mission Infusion Beyond MER," 2005 IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, Montana, 06 March 2005.
2003
  1. R. Volpe and S. Peters, "Rover Technology Development and Infusion for the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory Mission," Proceedings of 7th the International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Automation for Space, Nara, Japan, 19 May 2003.
  2. R. Volpe, "Rover Functional Autonomy Development for the Mars Mobile Science Laboratory," IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, Montana, 08 March 2003.
2001
  1. I.A.D. Nesnas, R. Volpe, T. Estlin, H. Das, R. Petras D. Mutz, "Toward Developing Reusable Software Components for Robotic Applications," Proceedings of the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Maui Hawaii, 01 November 2001.
  2. T Estlin, R. Volpe, I.A.D. Nesnas, D. Mutz, F. Fisher, B. Engelhardt, and S. Chien, "Decision-Making in a Robotic Architecture for Autonomy," 6th Internation Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS), Montreal Canada, 18 June 2001.
  3. R. Volpe, I.A.D. Nesnas, T. Estlin, D. Mutz, R. Petras, H. Das, "The CLARAty Architecture for Robotic Autonomy," Proceedings of the 2001 IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, Montana, 01 March 2001.
2000
  1. R. Volpe, I.A.D. Nesnas, T. Estlin, D. Mutz, R. Petras, H. Das, "CLARAty: Coupled Layer Architecture for Robotic Autonomy," Technical Report D-19975, 01 December 2000.
  2. R. Volpe, T. Estlin, S. Laubach, C. Olson, and J. Balaram, "Enhanced Mars Rover Navigation Techniques," IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), San Francisco CA, 24 April 2000.
  3. R. Volpe, E. Baumgartner, P. Schenker, and S. Hayati, "Technology Development and Testing for Enhanced Mars Rover Sample Return Operations," IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, Montana, 18 March 2000.
1999
  1. R. Volpe, "Mars Rover Navigation Results Using Sun Sensor Heading Determination," IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Robots and Systems (IROS), Kyongju Korea, 17 October 1999.
  2. R. Volpe, "Navigation Results from Desert Field Tests of the Rocky 7 Mars Rover Prototype," International Journal of Robotics Research, <i>Special Issue on Field and Service Robots</i>, 18(7), 01 July 1999.
  3. C. Weisbin, G. Rodriguez, P. Schenker, H. Das, S. Hayati, E. Baumgartner, M. Maimone, I. Nesnas, and R. Volpe, "Autonomous Rover Technology for Mars Sample Return," International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS), The Netherlands, 01 June 1999.
1998
  1. R. Volpe, T. Ohm, R. Petras, R. Welch, J. Balaram, R. Ivlev, "Mobile Robot Manipulators for Mars Science," Space Technology Journal, 17(3-4), pp. 219-229, 01 April 1998.
1997
  1. D. Stewart, R. Volpe, P. Khosla, "Design of Dynamically Reconfigurable Real-Time Software using Port-Based Objects," IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 23(12), 01 December 1997.
  2. R. Volpe, J. Balaram, T. Ohm, R. Ivlev, "Rocky 7: A Next Generation Mars Rover Prototype," Journal of Advanced Robotics, 11(4), 01 December 1997.
  3. R. Volpe, T. Ohm, R. Petras, R. Welch, J. Balaram, R. Ivlev, "A Prototype Manipulation System for Mars Rover Science Operations," IEEE / RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 07 September 1997.
  4. S. Hayati, R. Volpe, et al., "The Rocky 7 Rover: A Mars Sciencecraft Prototype," IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Albuquerque NM, 20 April 1997.
1996
  1. R. Volpe, J. Balaram, T. Ohm, and R. Ivlev, "The Rocky 7 Mars Rover Prototype," IEEE / RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Osaka, Japan, 04 November 1996.
  2. S. Hayati, R. Volpe, et al., "Microrover Research for Exploration of Mars," AIAA Forum on Advanced Developments in Space Robotics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 01 August 1996.
1995
  1. R. Volpe and P. Khosla, "The Equivalence of Second-Order Impedance Control and Proportional Gain Explicit Force Control," International Journal of Robotics Research, 14(6), 01 December 1995.
  2. L.Matthies, E. Gat, R. Harrison, B.Wilcox, R. Volpe, and T. Litwin,, "Mars Microrover Navigation: Performance Evaluation and Enhancement," International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Pittsburgh, PA, 01 August 1995.
  3. R. Volpe, T. Litwin, L. Matthies, "Mobile Robot Localization by Remote Viewing of a Colored Cylinder," International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Pittsburgh, PA, 01 August 1995.
1994
  1. R. Volpe and P. Khosla, "Analysis and Experimental Verification of a Fourth Order Plant Model for Manipulator Force Control," Robotics and Automation Magazine, 1(2), 01 June 1994.
  2. R. Volpe and R. Ivlev, "A Survey and Experimental Evaluation of Proximity Sensors for Space Robotics," IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), San Diego, CA, 01 May 1994.
  3. R. Volpe and D. McAffee, "A Robotic Lighting System for Solar Illumination Simulation," IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), San Diego, CA, 01 May 1994.
  4. R. Volpe and J. Balaram, "Technology for Robotic Surface Inspection in Space," AIAA Conference on Intelligent Robots in Field, Factory, Service, and Space (CIRFFSS), Houston, Texas, 20 March 1994.
  5. R. Volpe and P. Khosla, "Computational Considerations in the Implementation of Force Control Strategies," Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems: Theory and Applications. <i>Special Issue on Computational Aspects of Robot Kinematics, Dynamics, and Control</i>, Volume 9, pp. 121-148, 01 January 1994.
1993
  1. R. Volpe and P. Khosla, "A Theoretical and Experimental Investigation of Explicit Force Control Strategies for Manipulators," IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, 38(11), 01 November 1993.
  2. R. Volpe and P. Khosla, "A Theoretical and Experimental Investigation of Impact Control for Manipulators," Journal of Robotics Research, 12(4), 01 August 1993.
  3. R. Volpe, "Task Space Velocity Blending for Real-Time Trajectory Generation," IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Atlanta, Georgia, 02 May 1993.
1992
  1. D. Stewart, R. Volpe, and P. Khosla, "Integration of Real-Time Software Modules for Reconfigurable Sensor-Based Control Systems," IEEE / RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Raleigh NC, 01 July 1992.
1990
  1. R. Volpe, "Real and Artificial Forces in the Control of Manipulators: Theory and Experiments," Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Physics, 01 September 1990.