Acknowledging and Alleviating Uncertainties in Autonomous Systems

IEEE Space Mission Challenges for Information Technology - IEEE Space Computing Conference
Caltech, Pasadena, CA, USA - 18-21 July 2023


The "Acknowledging and Alleviating Uncertainties in Autonomous Systems" workshop is a one-day, in-person seminar within the 2023 IEEE International Conference on Space Mission Challenges for Information Technology (SMC-IT). The workshop examines fundamental sources of uncertainty in the design and operation of autonomous aerospace systems, together with approaches for quantification, propagation, and aggregation of uncertainty estimates, as well as dealing with consequences of various uncertainty types and the attendant risks.

Any assurance of successful aerospace missions relies on thorough and comprehensive understanding of the uncertainties involved, including those associated with various aspects of computational decision making by IT. With the increasing projected use of autonomous systems in space operations, a clear realization of what constitutes reducible and irreducible uncertainties is critical. During the workshop, we aim to present examples of uncertainties and assemble a comprehensive list of uncertainties associated with autonomous systems operating in space environments. Operation under uncertainty involves subjective thresholds for risk acceptance. We hope to facilitate a lively discussion on approaches to defining, setting, and accepting such thresholds.

The workshop, chaired by Natalia Alexandrov (NASA Langley Research Center), Martin Feather (JPL), and Kenneth Costello (GSFC/IVV), will include presentations, a panel, and an assisted open-mic discussion. Please note that the duration of the presentations is approximate and may shift slightly if a presentation invokes an active discussion.


10:15-10:30 Introduction Natalia Alexandrov (NASA LaRC)
10:30-11:00 Planning and Control under Uncertainty for Planetary Lander Payload Offloading Javier Puig-Navarro (Analytic Mechanics Associates)
11:00-11:30 Uncertainty in Servicing and Assembly Tasks for Space Robotic Manipulators John Cooper (NASA LaRC)
11:30-11:45 Discussion
11:45-13:30 Lunch Break
13:30-14:00 Trustworthiness of a Surrogate Model for Assembly Sequencing of Space Structures Dalan Loudermilk (University of Maryland and NASA Pathways)
14:00-14:30 Managing Model Uncertainty, Disturbances, and operational Space Characteristics Using Control Barrier and Lyapunov Functions John Pye (University of Michigan and NASA Pathways)
14:30-15:00 Managing Uncertainties via Preconditioning Problem Complexity Natalia Alexandrov (NASA LaRC)
15:00-15:15 Break
15:15-17:30 Designing a Robust Mars Landing amidst Uncertainty Martin Feather (NASA JPL)
15:45-17:15 Panel and open-mic discussion Martin Feather (NASA JPL) and Kenneth Costello (NASA GSFC/IVV)






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