Robotics & Mobility Systems

Role in Scientific Discovery

Robotics & Mobility Systems

Advanced robotics and mobility systems explore in situ to increase knowledge about the systems, origins, and habitability of planetary bodies. In space, advanced robotics enable greater coverage for astrophysics, astronomy, and Earth science.


Benefit to JPL Mission

Advanced robotics and mobility systems enable new planetary missions with greater science return. Teams of advanced robotic systems reduce the cost and risk of developing and maintaining large space structures.



Increasingly complex science missions demand increasingly robust and autonomous robotics and mobility systems. These future missions are too complex and unpredictable for current robotic operations, which are highly pre- scripted by humans and rely on commands from Earth to adjust operations.



  • Robotic Perception and Localization: electro-optical stereo camera systems, sensing and localization algorithms
  • Mobility Systems: extreme-terrain, above-surface, and below-surface mobility; small-body and microgravity mobility; control of tethered systems
  • Manipulation and Sampling Systems: drilling, autonomous sampling systems, robotic manipulators
  • Multi-Robot Teams and In-Space Assembly: cooperative manipulation of orbiting systems, planning and communication, system- and agent-level human interaction approaches


Read more about this topic in JPL's 2019 Strategic Technologies document.