Honors Gallery

2011 Robonaut2 Mid-Continent

Award: Excellence in Technology Transfer

Year: 2011

Award Type:

Region: Mid-Continent

NASA Johnson Space Center

NASA’s Dexterous Robotics Laboratory at Johnson Space Center (JSC) teamed with General Motors (GM) under a cooperative Space Act Agreement to design a humanoid robot for use in both the automotive and aerospace industries. The Robonaut2 (R2) is a state-of-the-art, highly dexterous robot that is capable of working side-by-side with people. The R2 and its component technologies will be used to improve vehicles and manufacturing on Earth and to define a new era of exploration in space. NASA and GM collaborated on every aspect of the design, development, and manufacturing process. Nearly 40 patents have been filed based on the R2 design.
The technology transfer effort provides numerous benefits to NASA, GM and the worldwide scientific community in various ways. The R2 enables NASA to extend its robot capabilities for future near-Earth and deep space missions. GM will use the technology to automate many ergonomically challenging manufacturing processes, pioneer new and improved vehicle safety systems, and work to enhance the safety of drivers on U.S. highways. Future versions of the R2 will one day service communications, weather, and reconnaissance satellites.

The R2 has drawn international attention as it is readied for flight to the International Space Station. It will make history as the first humanoid robot to work side-by-side with astronauts, and it will provide groundbreaking scientific data on the performance of robotics in zero gravity.