Keynote Speakers

Marco Pavone

Sampling-Based Techniques for Planning and Control of Autonomous Spacecraft and Space Robots

Dr. Marco Pavone is an Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University, where he is the Director of the Autonomous Systems Laboratory. Before joining Stanford, he was a Research Technologist within the Robotics Section at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He received a Ph.D. degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010. His main research interests are in the development of methodologies for the analysis, design, and control of autonomous systems, with an emphasis on autonomous aerospace vehicles and large-scale robotic networks. He is a recipient of a PECASE Award, an ONR YIP Award, an NSF CAREER Award, a NASA Early Career Faculty Award, a Hellman Faculty Scholar Award, and was named NASA NIAC Fellow in 2011. His work has been recognized with best paper nominations or awards at the Field and Service Robotics Conference (2015), at the Robotics: Science and Systems Conference (2014), and at NASA symposia (2015). He is currently serving as an Associate Editor for the IEEE Control Systems Magazine.


Trey Smith

Space Robotics - It’s Not One-Size-Fits-All

This talk will examine a variety of space robotics projects currently underway in the Intelligent Robotics Group at NASA Ames Research Center, ranging from basic research on a mobility platform inspired by bio-tensegrity principles, to a rover mission searching for ice at the lunar poles. Trey will frame the projects by informally comparing their complexity along various metrics, and tracing how this affects basic questions about architecture, concept of operations, and where to site control and computation. He will finish with some quick thoughts about how these issues relate to trends in terrestrial robot development.

Trey Smith is the Chief Technologist for the NASA Astrobee Project, building a new generation of free flying robots that will inhabit the interior of the International Space Station and provide a research platform for guest scientists. His past work has covered adaptive science for robotic exploration, collaborative situation awareness interfaces, probabilistic planning, and robot teamwork. He received his PhD in robotics from Carnegie Mellon in 2007.


Danette Allen

Autonomy and NASA’s New Missions

Dr. Danette Allen is the NASA Senior Technologist (ST) for Intelligent Flight Systems and the Head of the Autonomy Incubator at NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC). She is responsible for setting the strategic vision, transforming the workforce, and building systems to realize the promise of autonomy and robotics in enabling new missions in space, aeronautics, and science. She provides subject matter expertise on several DoD autonomy programs including ONR AACUS, DARPA CODE, and DARPA ALIAS. Prior to her current position, Dr. Allen served as the Research Team Lead for Human-System Integration (HSI) and ATM Concepts in Crew Systems and Aviation Operations. She also served as Mission Manager in the Earth Science Systems Pathfinder (ESSP) Program Office as well as Head of the Mission Simulation Lab (MiSL) and the Integrated Design Center. Dr. Allen began her NASA career in the design, development and operation of spaceflight missions including Lidar In-Space Technology Experiment (LITE) on STS-64, Measurement of Air Pollution from Satellites (MAPS) on Mir, and Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) III on ISS. Dr. Allen received her Bachelor’s degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering from North Carolina State University, MBA from Manchester University (UK), Master’s Degree in Computer Engineering from Old Dominion University, and her Master’s and Doctoral Degrees in Computer Science from UNC Chapel Hill. She is the recipient of several NASA awards including NASA astronauts’ “Silver Snoopy” award for achievements related to human flight safety and mission success as well as the NASA “Systems Engineering Excellence Award” medal.


Jack Burns

Teleoperation of Planetary Surface Rovers for Science and Exploration

Jack Burns is a Professor in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences and Vice President Emeritus for Academic Affairs and Research for the University of Colorado. He is also Director of the NASA-funded SSERVI Network for Exploration and Space Science (NESS). Burns received his B.S. degree, magna cum laude, in Astrophysics from the University of Massachusetts. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Astronomy from Indiana University. From 2001 through 2005, Burns served as Vice President for Academic Affairs & Research for the University of Colorado System. Burns was Vice Provost for Research at the University of Missouri – Columbia from 1997 through 2001. He was Associate Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences at New Mexico State University (NMSU). Burns was Department Head and Professor in the Department of Astronomy at NMSU from 1989 until 1996. During his tenure at the University of New Mexico from 1980 to 1989, Burns served as the Director of the Institute for Astrophysics and was a Presidential Fellow. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory from 1978 to 1980. Burns has 429 publications as listed in NASA’s Astrophysics Data System. Burns is an elected Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He received NASA’s Exceptional Public Service Medal in 2010 and NASA’s Group Achievement Award for Surface Telerobotics in 2014. Burns was a member of the Presidential Transition Team for NASA in 2016-17. Burns currently serves as senior Vice President of the American Astronomical Society, the world’s premier organization of professional astronomers.