I’m excited to share that my NSTGRO proposal titled Enabling Long-term Robot Autonomy through Adaptable Fault Resilience has been funded! My research will encompass the follwing:
When robots are sent to the surface of Mars or space stations like the ISS or Gateway, they will need to act autonomously for long durations of time and be exposed to challenging environments. In these conditions, robots have a high likelihood of experiencing some form of system failure. Presently, most robotic missions require engineers to develop pre-designed failure responses, significantly increasing the preparation time and decreasing the robot’s ability to continue operating if it fails in an unforeseen way. This current approach does not offer the scalability needed for large-scale robot deployments to happen--deployments that NASA will need to pave the way for humans to go back to the Moon and eventually Mars. To enable mass robotic systems to accompany and lead long-term space missions, my research will develop a unified system that utilizes redundant actuation to creatively adapt a robot’s actions in realtime in the event of one or multiple faults. Autonomous robots using this system will have greater flexibility than with classic control loops alone. This will increase the time between catastrophic failures, decrease the cost of robot deployment, and improve mission longevity.
I look forward to collaborating with NASA on this project for the next four years and am excited to see where this project leads in my life.