RSS 2017 Workshop: Bridging the Gap in Space Robotics

Important Dates

  • Submission site open: Monday 5/8/2017
  • Submissions Due: Friday 6/2/2017 Monday 6/12/2017
  • Submission Notification: Friday 6/16/2017 Monday 6/19/2017
  • Final Program Announced: Friday 7/7/2017
  • Workshop: Saturday 7/15/2017 (full day)

Submission Link

Workshop Description

Space exploration represents a complex and multifaceted problem domain for autonomous systems. Space missions take place in extremely harsh and distant environments, incurring long time delays, high costs, and other challenges that highlight the value of autonomy, but make it difficult to achieve in practice. The price of failure is high, as robots will often be required to perform mission- or safety-critical operations. Furthermore, these operations may take place in novel environments for which we have little a priori knowledge, making it difficult to simulate, model, or predict conditions in advance. Overall, autonomous systems for use in space must be exceptionally robust if they are to operate successfully without significant human oversight. At the same time, such autonomy must remain sufficiently trustworthy, accessible, and comprehensible to human stakeholders (e.g., mission engineers, scientists, astronauts, etc.) in order to add value in achieving space mission objectives.

On Earth, researchers around the globe have been making significant advances in the fields of robotics and autonomy. Developments in robot perception, manipulation, and learning are rapidly improving the capabilities of terrestrial systems and have a wide range of applications, such as autonomous vehicles and warehouse automation. These developments might also significantly expand the capabilities of space systems. However, integration into the space domain is occurring at a more gradual pace, despite this context being the absolute test of autonomy.

This workshop aims to help bridge the gap between advances in terrestrial systems and space applications, identifying a set of “grand challenges and opportunities” for space robotics. To achieve this goal, the workshop will bring together researchers, engineers, scientists, and practitioners from the space exploration, space robotics, and autonomous robotics communities. In assembling a diverse set of experts and leaders in these fields, the workshop will explore: (1) how advancements in terrestrial robotics might be applied to space and (2) how the challenges of operating in space may require further enhancement of these techniques before application. The conversation will focus on analyzing space-specific challenges that require or complicate autonomy and ongoing research that might address or be adapted to these challenges. The workshop will be organized to maximize interaction between participants from the space and robotics communities, featuring keynote talks, invited panels, and contributed presentations. The workshop will solicit contributions describing new/ongoing research related to relevant aspects and applications for space robotics, including advances in tools and methods for perception, manipulation, learning, control, planning, robot teaming/coordination and human-autonomy interaction.