Mars 2020 Helicopter
Mars 2020 Helicopter SpaceBok RoboSimian Lemur DuAxel Rover_4wheels_field hakuto climbing


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: The Workshop is going to be held online. Please monitor the website for up-to-date information.

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
  • David Wettergreen, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
  • Motiv Space Systems, USA

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 works will be pitched with a 5 minutes highlight talk via Zoom and presented in a virtual poster walk via Spatial Chat.

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 (23:59:00 PST)
  • Presentation: 29.10.2020 (see the schedule for more information)

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

Time (PST):Speaker:
10/29/2020 07:00-07:20Welcome and opening remarks
Session 1: State of the art of planetary surface exploration and
missions under development/currently in space.
10/29/2020 07:20-07:40Alin Albu-Schäffer, DLR, Germany
10/29/2020 07:40-08:00Gianfranco Visentin, ESA, The Netherlands
10/29/2020 08:00-08:20Frank Kirchner, DFKI, Germany
10/29/2020 08:20-08:40Mark Maimone, JPL, USA
10/29/2020 08:40-09:00Teddy Tzanetos, JPL, USA
10/29/2020 09:00-09:20Group/Panel discussion
Session 2: Poster contributions
10/29/2020 09:20-10:00Poster pitches
10/29/2020 10:00-open endVirtual poster walk
Session 3: Surface exploration from an implementation, scientific,
and commercial perspective.
10/29/2020 15:00-15:20Laura Kerber, JPL, USA
10/29/2020 15:20-15:40TBD, Motiv Space Systems, USA
10/29/2020 15:40-16:00Olivier Toupet, JPL, USA
10/29/2020 16:00-16:20William “Red” Whittaker, CMU, USA
10/29/2020 16:20-16:40Kazuya Yoshida, Tohoku University, Japan
10/29/2020 16:40-17:00Group/Panel discussion
Session 4: Novel mobility concepts, field testing, and lessons learned.
10/30/2020 07:00-07:20Genyia Ishigami, Keio University, Japan
10/30/2020 07:20-07:40Hendrik Kolvenbach, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
10/30/2020 07:40-08:00William Reid, JPL, USA
10/30/2020 08:00-08:20Patrick McGarey, JPL, USA
10/30/2020 08:20-08:40David Wettergreen, CMU, USA
10/30/2020 08:40-09:00Group/Panel discussion
10/30/2020 09:00-09:10Closing remarks

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.