Red Whittaker

Red is a space robotics pioneer. He is the Fredkin Professor of Robotics, Director of the Field Robotics Center and Chairman of Astrobotic. He holds Carnegie Mellon’s highest academic rank of University Professor.  Red leads campaigns of research, development, and system deployment.  He has founded and led successful laboratories, centers, consortia, and corporations. Red has pioneered disciplines, and has decades of organization, management and leadership distinction. He has led field campaigns and missions to the world’s harshest environments.  Red has created a deep lineage of scientists, technologists, and leaders in space enterprise.

 Red receiving the $2,000,000, 1st place prize in the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge.

Red receiving the $2,000,000, 1st place prize in the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge.

Red's iconic robot developments for space include the Nomad planetary rover, Dante volcano explorer, Ambler, Skyworker, PioneerScarab, Andy and Autokrawler.  His technologies include autonomous driving, trinocular vision, panospheric imaging, sun-synchronous rover path planning, and flyover pit modeling. He won DARPA’s $2 Million driverless car race igniting the automotive automation boom. His Astrobotic company is delivering payloads and rovers to the Moon.

Red is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He is a recipient of the prestigious Columbia Medal for Aerospace Achievement, the Simon Ramo Medal for Systems Excellence, and the Feigenbaum Prize for contributions to artificial intelligence.  He is a recipient of the Newell Medal for Research Excellence, the Perlis Award for Creativity and the Teare Award for Teaching Excellence.  He served on NRC’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board and the Space Science Exploration Technology Advisory Group. He served a decade on NASA’s Telerobotics Intercenter Working Group. Red has been recognized by Aviation Week & Space Technology for outstanding achievement. Fortune named him a “Hero of U.S. Manufacturing”. 

When not enjoying life in Pittsburgh with his wife Kathleen, he raises cattle in the nearby Allegheny mountains.

Professional Preparation
Ph.D. Carnegie Mellon University, 1979
M.S. Carnegie Mellon University, 1975
B.S. Princeton University, 1973


Chairman, Astrobotic Technologies, 2007-current
Founder, RedZone Robotics, 1986
Fredkin Professor, Carnegie Mellon University, 1979-current