Michael Wagner

Michael Wagner, Carnegie Mellon University

Wagner is a Senior Commercialization Specialist at the National Robotics Engineering Center at Carnegie Mellon University. He manages the Automated Stress Testing for Autonomy Architectures (ASTAA) project, which develops innovative stress-testing tools for unmanned-vehicle software that expose failure modes that are generally not uncovered with traditional testing. Prior to this project, I served as safety lead for the Autonomous Platform Demonstrator (APD) project, which built an advanced nine-ton, six-wheeled unmanned ground vehicle for the U.S. Army. As system-safety lead, he designed the first version of a “safety monitor” that acts as a safeguarding agent for the entire APD vehicle. He developed it with a high level of rigor, and it served as a basis for APD’s safety-release for soldier experiments granted by U.S. Army Developmental Test Command. Between 2006 and 2008, he led software development for the Tactical Unmanned Ground Vehicle (TUGV) program for the U.S. Marine Corps.

Wagner also has experience building robots that operate in the most extreme environments on Earth. Between 1999 and 2006, he led software implementation for five field expeditions at the Field Robotics Center at Carnegie Mellon. He began my career on the Robotic Antarctic Meteorite Search project, where he helped build the autonomous meteorite-seeking robot called Nomad. In 2000, Wagner was awarded an Antarctic Service Medal for six weeks of field work on the project. Later he designed the mobility control systems for the Hyperion and Zoë rovers, including selecting and testing motion control hardware, implementing rover localization, building kinematic models, and developing steering control software. A highlight of this work is the implementation of a steering controller for the Zoë rover that features a novel passively-steered chassis. Also working on the Zoë rover he integrated a completely custom fluorescence imager and other science instruments.

Wagner enjoys bootstrapping new initiatives of research and invention. Toward this end he has played key technical, management, and business-development roles in numerous projects at Carnegie Mellon and at three start-up companies. In this capacity he has secured almost $10M in support from government and industry.