NASA Intelligent Robotics Group
Group Lead: Maria Bualat Deputy Group Lead: Matthew Deans Chief Roboticist: Terry Fong
HQ: Moffett Field, CA
Since 1990, the NASA Ames Intelligent Robotics Group (IRG) has been developing robotics technology to reinvent planetary exploration and to create new systems that will enhance and enable discovery. A key part of their work is to field test advanced human-robot systems for exploration. In the past, NASA missions have employed different concepts of operation for human and robotic exploration.
Future deep space human missions, however, will need to combine human and robotic activity while considering many operational factors, such as data communications, timelines, etc. The Intelligent Robotics Group (IRG) explores extreme environments, remote locations, and uncharted worlds, conducting applied research in computer vision, geospatial data systems, human-robot interaction, planetary mapping and robot software. IRG has developed the Astrobee free-flying robot, the “K-REX” and “K10” series of planetary rovers (KREX article, K10 video), and the SUPERball Bot tensegrity robot. We conduct robotic field tests in planetary analog sites, such as Black Point Lava Flow and Haughton Crater. IRG has a significant role in the development of the VIPER rover mission, including: onboard software, navigation systems, robot driving tools, 3D Lunar terrain maps from satellite images for mission planning, and software to support high-tempo science operations.