The panel did not make any changes to the set of seven level 2 technology subareas in the draft roadmap for TA04:1

•   4.1 Sensing and Perception

•   4.2 Mobility

•   4.3 Manipulation

•   4.4 Human-Systems Integration

•   4.5 Autonomy

•   4.6 Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking

•   4.7 Robotics, Tele-Robotics, and Autonomous Systems (RTA) Systems Engineering

Because the TA04 roadmap did not include a viable list of level 3 technologies, public comments for the TA04 roadmap were solicited using these level 2 technology subareas rather than at level 3 as was done for all the other roadmaps.

The TA04 draft roadmap supports NASA space missions with the development of new capabilities to enable new missions and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of existing mission concepts. Through a combination of dexterous robotics, better human/robotic interfaces, improved mobility systems, and greater sensing and perception, TA04 technologies will extend the reach of human and robotic exploration. Improvements in autonomy will allow robotic and human systems to operate with greater efficiency and effectiveness, both for near-Earth missions and in deep space. TA04 technologies will enable robotic and crewed servicing missions, which have the potential to fundamentally change the way satellites are designed, built, and operated.

This roadmap describes the robotics, tele-robotics, and autonomy technology developments that are necessary to meet the needs of future missions, provide enhanced capabilities, or enable new mission concepts. This includes identification of representative future missions and key capabilities and investments that will enable or enhance these missions. The roadmap focuses on several key issues for the future of robotics and autonomy: enhancing or exceeding human performance in sensing, piloting, driving, manipulating, and rendezvous and docking; development of cooperative and safe human interfaces to form human-robot teams; and improvements in autonomy to make human crews independent from Earth and make robotic missions more capable.

As noted above, the panel created a new set of level 3 technologies for TA04 (see Table G.1). (The complete, revised TABS for all 14 Tas is shown in Appendix B.) This new set of level 3 technologies is consistent both with the relevant panel’s understanding of applicable TA04 technology needs and with the intent of much of the existing roadmap text. Some new level 3 technologies address important technology gaps within the existing TA04 roadmap:

•   4.1.6. Multi-Sensor Data Fusion. Since effective robotics operation often requires the integrated use of data collected simultaneously from a variety of sensors, the fusion of that data into more useful information is a critical capability. The original TA04 TABS included the narrower topic of Sensor Fusion for Grasping (4.5.3), which this technology treats more broadly.

•   4.1.7. Mobile Feature Tracking and Discrimination. This area covers the unique challenges to object tracking and discrimination faced by a surface mobility vehicle while in motion.

•   4.2.1. Extreme Terrain Mobility. Extreme terrain includes cliffs, crater walls, and very rugged surfaces. Means of mobility to safely reach and loiter at designated locations on such terrain poses unique challenges.

•   4.2.2. Below-Surface Mobility. Vehicles that would transit under regolith, in caves, or immersed in bodies of liquid have mobility challenges not covered in other level 3 technology entries in this roadmap.

•   4.3.3. Modeling of Contact Dynamics. Robotic vehicles that dock or that manipulate objects require detailed models of the contact dynamics to enable proper control of their interactions.


1The draft space technology roadmaps are available at

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