Mars 2020 Helicopter
Mars 2020 Helicopter SpaceBok RoboSimian Lemur DuAxel


In this workshop, we wish to review state of the art and provide an outlook towards the future of robotic, planetary surface exploration.

As the scientific community strives to perform in-situ investigations of the unexplored areas in our solar system, requirements on mobility are becoming increasingly demanding. Steep craters, caves, highlands, permanently shadowed regions, and icy worlds are only a few examples of extreme environments a potential robot has to account for. In this regard, it is essential to share and discuss insights within the community on how to develop such platforms. On the other hand, the cost of accessing space is decreasing, which lowers the barrier for new players to enter the market. Private companies have started to develop landing platforms and rovers to sell planetary access as a product. This leads to a need for reduction of mission costs and careful risk management to increase profits. In summary, we plan to investigate challenges and opportunities for the future of mobile planetary exploration. Next-generation mobility concepts are presented, which allow for investigating so far unreached planetary environments. A special focus is laid on the presentation of scientific targets and commercial opportunities.

Covid-19 Note: As of today (29.05.), the workshop is foreseen to proceed as planned. However, the situation is monitored and the workshop might be held virtually and streamed if circumstances change.

Confirmed Speakers

  • Kazuya Yoshida, Tohoku University, Japan
  • Hendrik Kolvenbach, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • William Reid, JPL, USA
  • Gianfranco Visentin, ESA, The netherlands
  • Laura Kerber, JPL, USA
  • Alin Albu-Schäffer, DLR, Germany
  • Mark Maimone, JPL, USA
  • Frank Kirchner, DFKI, Germany
  • Teddy Tzanetos, JPL, USA
  • Olivier Toupet, JPL, USA
  • Genyia Ishigami, Keio University, Japan

Call for Participation

During the workshop, we foresee a poster session and are therefore asking for your contribution!

Please submit an abstract (max. 2 pages) as PDF to Use the IEEE IROS 2020 format guidelines when submitting the abstract. The templates can be found here (LaTex) and here (MS Word). A review panel will evaluate the abstracts.

Selected papers will be pitched during the workshop and presented as poster contributions. During the workshop, we will provide A0 poster size in portrait orientation (841 x 1189 mm) and velcro. In the case of a virtual workshop, the authors will be given the chance to present their work in a dedicated online session. This call is open to both, in-person and online attendees. The proceedings of this Workshop will be indexed and receive a DOI (Digital Object Identifier).

Important dates:

  • Abstract Submission Deadline: 13.09.2020 (23:59:00 PST)
  • Notification of Acceptance: 27.09.2020
  • Submission of Final Abstract/Poster: 18.10.2020
  • Presentation: 29.10.2020

All contributions relevant to planetary robotics are welcome:

  • Above-surface, surface, and sub-surface planetary mobility
  • Planetary robot system design
  • Autonomy and AI
  • Command and control with limited bandwidth
  • Perception and Navigation in unknown environments
  • Testing and qualification of planetary systems, including field test reports
  • Robotic mission concepts, planning, and operation
  • Commercial opportunities and “Space 2.0”
  • Studies on the planetary environment (Terramechanics, Scientific targets, etc.)

The best contributions will be awarded prizes of up to 500€, sponsored by Moog.

Tentative Schedule

08:30 – 08:45Welcome and opening remarksWelcome to the Workshop and outline of the day.
08:40 – 10:20Five invited speakersState of the art of planetary surface exploration and
missions under development/currently in space.
10:20  – 11:00Coffee break and poster session
11:00 – 12:20Four invited speakersSurface exploration from an implementation, scientific,
and commercial perspective.
12:30 – 13:30Lunch
13:30 – 15:30Six invited speakersNovel mobility concepts, field testing, and lessons learned.
15:30 – 16:00Coffee break and poster session
16:00 – 16:45Panel discussionSelected invited speakers will participate in the panel discussion
on the topic of challenges and opportunities for future
planetary surface missions.
16:45 – 17:00Closing remarks, End

Organization Committee

Hendrik Kolvenbach

Robotic Systems Lab, ETH Zurich, Leonhardstrasse 21, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland

William Reid

Jet Propulsion Laboratory M/S 198-219 4800 Oak Grove Drive Pasadena, CA 91101, USA

Richard Volpe

Jet Propulsion Laboratory M/S 198-219 4800 Oak Grove Drive Pasadena, CA 91109, USA

Kazuya Yoshida

Space Robotics Lab, Tohoku University, Aoba 6-6-01, 980-8579 Sendai, Japan


We would like to thank Moog for their sponsoring of the Workshop.