Principal Researcher for Autonomy
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
7700 Sandholdt Road
Moss Landing, CA 95039
Phone: (831) 775-1833
Fax: (831) 775-1646
Kanna is the Principal Researcher for Autonomy at MBARI which
he joined October 2005. Prior to
that he was a Senior Research Scientist and a member of the management
team of the Autonomous Systems and Robotics Area at NASA Ames Research
Center Moffett Field, California. His primary interests are in
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Planning and Execution and Cognitive
As the Program Manager for Autonomy & Robotics for a $5M FY05 program at Ames he was tasked with putting together a credible demonstration of Human/Robotic collaboration on a planetary surface. The field demonstration at the Ames Marscape in September 2005 end, showcased how autonomous systems and EVA astronauts could "work" together towards exploration tasks. Before this programmatic assignment, he was the Principal Investigator on the MAPGEN Mixed- Initiative Planning effort as a decision support system to command the Spirit and Opportunity rovers on the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission. MAPGEN continues to be used thru 2005, twice daily in the mission- critical uplink process.
Kanna was one of the principals of the Remote Agent Experiment (RAX) which designed, built, tested and flew the first AI based closed-loop control system on a spacecraft. The RAX was the co-winner of NASA's 1999 Software of the Year, the agency's highest technical award.
Prior to joining NASA Ames, he was in the doctoral program at the Courant Institute of Math Sciences at NYU. And prior to that he was at the Knowledge Systems group at American Airlines, helping build a Maintenance Routing scheduler (MOCA) which continues to be used by the airline 365 days of the year to schedule airplane routing.
MAPGEN was awarded NASA's 2004 Turning Goals into Reality
award under the Administrators Award category, a NASA Space Act Award,
a NASA Group Achievement Award and a NASA Ames Honor Award. Kanna is
the recipient of the 2002 NASA Public Service Medal and the First NASA
Ames Information Directorate Infusion Award also in 2002. In Oct 2004,
JPL awarded him the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for his role on the
He was the Co-chair of the 2005 Intnl. Conference on
Automated Planning and Scheduling (ICAPS), in Monterey, California,
and a former chair of the Executive Board of the International
Workshop on Planning and Scheduling for Space.
At MBARI he is working on a hybrid integrated planning and
execution system for goal-oriented platform control for single and
multi-vehicle control. The Teleo-Reactive
synthesizes control actions onboard while being both reactive and deliberative on one of MBARI's
AUVs. Adaptive AUV control uses environmental cues to drive state
estimation from offline machine learned statistical models of dynamic
upper-ocean features like INLs, Plumes and Fronts.