Lecture by David Wettergreen – American Corners (Postponed)

Técnico - Alameda campus

“Applying Robotics to Scientific Observation and Exploration” is also a “Space Seminar (S3)” - 11:00 - QA1.4 amphitheatre

Dr David Wettergreen (Field Robotics Center-FRC, Robotics Institute-RI, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh) will give a lecture entitled “Applying Robotics to Scientific Observation and Exploration”, on 26th May 2020, at 11:00, under the partnership between Técnico and the US embassy in Portugal – American Corners – ACorner@IST and the Space Seminar Series (S3).

Today we experience remote environments through the digital eyes of robots and we collect measurements and samples with the instruments that they deploy. As robots achieve greater autonomy in understanding and reasoning about scientific data, they have the potential to transform how we explore. Along with creating better models of their environment, they will need to model of the scientific endeavor itself. Robotic explorers must interpret their observations and then determine the next appropriate actions for their investigation. In envisioning the future of exploration, we should consider the role and impact of automated perception, reasoning and action. • In this talk I will motivate aspects of robot autonomy that will aid exploration and discuss how this changes the way we explore. I will review technical results in robotics and illustrate some of the challenges we find specific to geologic mapping. We want robots to begin with existing information, like orbital imagery, to plan in situ observations. Not everywhere and everything is equally accessible. I will discuss resource-constrained planning which considers the value of information in many dimensions. With each new measurement, knowledge of both the specific site and general region increases. I will show how a few carefully selected measurements can dramatically reduce the uncertainty over a large area. • I will describe geologic field investigations in the Atacama and Mojave deserts in which we are applying new methodologies for exploration with robots. As we study terrestrial environments and collaborate directly between scientists and engineers, we learn about the technologies and techniques that will create future robotic explorers.

Dr. David Wettergreen creates robots that explore places that compel scientific investigation without human presence as in space or at the extremes of our planet. He has led teams exploring polar environments, sampling underwater caverns, measuring microbial life, and classifying geologic features. He has led numerous research projects including a decade of robotic investigation of microbial life in the Atacama Desert, which established single-command, multi-kilometer autonomous traverse. His work in science autonomy enables robotic explorers to detect, classify, and evaluate geologic and biologic features in order to autonomously interpret and act upon scientific observations. Dr. Wettergreen is a Research Professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He obtained his Ph.D. in Robotics in 1995 and has held positions at NASA (1996-1997, 2010) and the Australian National University (1998-2000). He has advised 40 graduate students (14 Ph.D., 28 M.S.) in robotics and is also the Associate Director for Education and chair of the Robotics Ph.D. program. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Field Robotics and biannually edits the special issue on Space Robotics.

Venue: South tower, 1st floor, QA1.4 amphitheatre.