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Photo of Edward Tunstel
   Edward Tunstel
   Senior Robotics Engineer
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, California
United States Of America
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High School: Springfield Gardens H.S., Jamaica, Queens,  NY
Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Howard University
Master of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Howard University
Doctor of Philosophy, Electrical Engineering, University of New Mexico

Background Information
I received the B.S. and M.E. degrees in Mechanical Engineering, with a concentration in robotics, from Howard University. In 1989 I joined the Robotic Intelligence Group at JPL supporting research and development activities on NASA planetary rover projects. My efforts contributed to development of the NASA "Rocky" series of microrovers, which led to the design of the Sojourner rover on the Mars Pathfinder mission (1996). As a JPL Fellow I received the Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Mexico (UNM), where I concentrated on developing intelligent control systems for mobile robots. My Ph.D. dissertation addresses distributed fuzzy control of adaptive hierarchical behavior-based systems and its application to mobile robot navigation.

In my current capacity as a Senior Robotics Engineer with the JPL Robotic Vehicles Group, I direct engineering activities for robotics technology development. I also develop autonomous control and navigation algorithms, software, and systems for planetary rover research and flight projects. Recently, I served as Lead Systems Engineer for the Field Integrated Design and Operations (FIDO) rover technology task. My current assignments include the 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) flight project, Task Manager for a study on disseminating NASA robotics software to universities, and a study on future large space telescope technology. For the Mars Exploration Rover mission, I serve as a Flight Systems Engineer specializing in surface mobility & autonomous navigation, and on the surface operations Spacecraft/Rover Engineering Team as leader of the mobility and robotic manipulation subsystem.

My research interests include mobile robot navigation, autonomous control, cooperative robotics, and applications of fuzzy logic and other soft computing techniques to intelligent control systems synthesis. Thus far, I have authored over 75 journal, book chapter, and conference publications in these areas. I am a member of several professional societies including Senior Member of IEEE and member of NSBE, AAAI, Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, and the New York Academy of Sciences. I am also an Associate Editor and Editorial Board Member of two international engineering journals.

Contributions to Mars Exploration

content image for contributions section Much of my career has been spent performing research and developing algorithms and software for autonomous rovers for Mars exploration (as well as for Earth and asteroid applications). This involves determining new and efficient ways to use sensors and computers to enable rovers to "think" in order to navigate rough and rugged planetary surfaces in a safe and reliable manner. [more contributions ...]
Personal Reflections

content image for personal reflections section There are only a "handful" of engineers on Earth who do what I do. I have opportunities to conceive and develop new ideas and approaches for exploring other planetary bodies using many different types of robot systems. [more personal reflections ...]