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RI Seminar


Vandi Verma Deputy Manager Mobility and Robotics Systems, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Friday, April 14
3:30 pm to 4:30 pm
Newell-Simon Hall 4305
Mars Robots and Robotics at NASA JPL


In this seminar I’ll discuss Mars robots, the unprecedented results we’re seeing with the latest Mars mission, and how we got here. Perseverance’s manipulation and sampling systems have collected samples from unique locations at twice the rate of any prior mission. 88% of all driving has been autonomous. This has enabled the mission to achieve its prime objective to select, core, and deploy a high value sample collection on the surface of Mars within one Mars year of landing. The Ingenuity helicopter has completed 49 flights on Mars. I’ll provide an overview of robotics at JPL and discuss some open problems that if addressed could further enhance future space robotics.


Vandi Verma is the Deputy Manager for Mobility and Robotics Systems at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Chief Engineer of Robotic Operations for the Mars 2020 mission with the Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter. As Deputy Manager for Mobility and Robotics she leads about 200 JPL roboticists developing new technology for future missions and working on a variety of JPL robotic missions. Robotics capabilities she has worked on are in regular use on the Perseverance, and Curiosity rovers, and in human spaceflight projects. She has been engaged in robotic operations on Mars since 2008 with the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity, Curiosity rover, Perseverance rover, and Ingenuity helicopter. She graduated from CMU RI with a Ph.D. in Robotics in 2005.