2018 Workshop on Autonomy for Future NASA Science Missions

NASA's Mars Helicopter Technology testing autonomous technologies on planetary surfaces
NASA’s Mars Helicopter Technology Demonstration is testing autonomous technologies that can potentially be used to explore planetary surfaces, as shown above. The 2018 SMD-sponsored workshop will explore how advanced autonomous technology can benefit the next generation of NASA missions.

Workshop Dates: October 10-11, 2018
Location: Carnegie Mellon University - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

At the 2018 Workshop on Autonomy for Future NASA Science Missions, key technical leaders from industry, academia, and NASA will explore how autonomy can impact upcoming NASA missions.

Workshop goals are to:

  • Identify emerging autonomy technologies becoming viable in the next 10-15 years that could:
    • Enable or enhance mission capabilities
    • Reduce mission risk
    • Reduce mission cost
  • Identify potential collaborations, partnerships, or linkages involving government, industry, and/or academia that will enable these technologies


Keynote speakers will highlight the latest research and development efforts and reflect on how these technologies could transform NASA missions. Panel discussions featuring experts from industry, academia, and NASA will explore autonomy-related themes and foster stakeholder interactions.

A set of design reference missions developed at last year’s autonomy workshop (Earth, Small Bodies, Moon, Heliosphere, Venus, Ocean Worlds), plus a concept for In-space Assembly of Large Telescopes, will provide context for workshop discussions this year. Workshop participants will participate in small breakout sessions to discuss how advanced autonomy can impact a particular reference mission, identify gaps between NASA’s technology development efforts and those of industry/academia, and propose methods to infuse beneficial technologies into NASA missions.

Attendance at this workshop is by invitation only.

Check out the tentative workshop agenda and revisit this website for additional information and updates about the 2018 workshop.