Planetary Robotics Guide

Planetary Robotics


The robotics domain is one of the ISTVS key themes. In this inaugural post for the ISTVS Resource Guide Initiative, the ISTVS Planetary Robotics Group is pleased to share these two resources of interest to the planetary robotics community.


1. Planetary Robotics Bibliography //  The Robotic Mobility Group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology works on research projects in the context of robotics-terramechanics. We are happy to share the bibliography from them here.

2. Planetary Robotics Overview Presentation // View the slides from an overview presentation on planetary robotics by Dr. Lutz Richter, 'Planetary Robotics: Recent Accomplishments'.

1. Planetary Robotics Bibliography

By the Robotic Mobility Group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology


A summary of their main publications as of Fall 2016:

  1. Iagnemma, K., and Dubowsky, S., Mobile Robots in Rough Terrain: Estimation, Motion Planning, and Control with Application to Planetary Rovers. Springer, 2004.
  2. R. Gonzalez, F. Rodriguez, J.L. Guzman; Autonomous Tracked Robots in Planar Off-Road Conditions. Modelling, Localization, and Motion Control. Springer, 2014.
  3. R. Gonzalez, A. Lopez, K. Iagnemma; Thermal Vision, Moisture Content, and Vegetation in the Context of Off-Road Mobile Robots; Journal of Terramechanics, Volume 70, April 2017. Pp. 35-48.
  4. R. Gonzalez, P. Jayakumar, K. Iagnemma; Generation of Stochastic Mobility Maps for Large-Scale Route Planning of Ground Vehicles. A Case Study; Journal of Terramechanics, Volume 69, February 2017, Pp. 1-11.
  5. R. Gonzalez, P. Jayakumar, K. Iagnemma; Stochastic Mobility Prediction of Ground Vehicles over Large Spatial Regions. A Geostatistical Approach; Autonomous Robots, Volume 41(2), January 2017, Pp. 313-331.
  6. R. Gonzalez, P. Jayakumar, K. Iagnemma; An Efficient Method for Increasing the Accuracy of Mobility Maps for Ground Vehicles; Journal of Terramechanics, Volume 68, December 2016, Pp. 23–35.
  7. Arvidson, R. E., Iagnemma, K. D., Maimone, M., Fraeman, A. A., Zhou, F., Heverly, M. C., Bellutta, P., Rubin, D., Stein, N. T., Grotzinger, J. P. and Vasavada, A. R. (2016), Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover Megaripple Crossings up to Sol 710 in Gale Crater. J. Field Robotics. doi:10.1002/rob.21647.
  8. Senatore, C., and Iagnemma, K., Analysis of Stress Distributions Under Lightweight Wheeled Vehicles, Journal of Terramechanics, Volume 51, February 2014, Pages 1-17, ISSN 0022-4898,
  9. Zhou, F., Arvidson, R., Bennett, K., Trease, B., Lindemann, R., Iagnemma, K., Senatore, C., Belluta, P., and Maxwell, S., Simulations of Mars Rover Traverses, Journal of Field Robotics, Volume 31, Issue 1, 2014,
  10. Iagnemma, K., Kang, S., Shibly, H., and Dubowsky, S., On-Line Terrain Parameter Estimation for Planetary Rovers, IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation, Volume 20, Number 5, pp. 921-927, October 2004.

Websites and Software Tools

Additionally, a summary of the top websites and software tools that are helpful for research work pertaining to robotics and terramechanics is listed below:

  1. ANVEL
    ANVEL (Autonomous Navigation Virtual Environment Laboratory) by Quantum Signal is a virtual simulation tool that specializes in unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) technologies and applications.
    Webots by CyberBotics is a development environment used to model, program, and simulate mobile robots.
  3. mGstat
    mGstat is an open-source geostatistical MATLAB® toolbox. Useful toolbox for creating mobility maps (see publication [4]).
  4. webGIS
    GIS open-source resource: webGIS presently contains extensive map coverage for technical applications including Air Dispersion Modeling, Human Health & Ecological Risk Assessment, and Terrain Processing. These maps are ready for download in various formats, to facilitate modeling. 
  5. Geotechdata is an independent website with the mission of providing the scientific and practicing community of geotechnical engineers with a comprehensive, high-quality, and freely accessible resource of geotechnical information.
  6. Open Topography
    OpenTopography facilitates community access to high-resolution, earth science-oriented, topography data and related tools and resources.
  7. Open Street Map
    OpenStreetMap is built by a community of mappers that contribute and maintain data about roads, trails, cafés, railway stations, and much more, all over the world.
  8. USGS National Map
    US Geological Survey (USGS) source of topographic information, including GIS data, maps, elevation tools, and conversion tools.
  9. Machine Learning with MATLAB (E-book) 
  10. ROS
    The Robot Operating System (ROS) is a set of software libraries and tools that help you build robot applications.

2. Presentation on Planetary Robotics

By ISTVS Secretary General Dr. Lutz Richter at the 8th Americas Conference