Machine Learning Systems
Photo of Raymond Francis

Dr. Raymond Francis

Mail Stop 158-242
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109

Office: 158-252F
Phone: (818) 354-0490
FAX: (818) 393-6141
Research interests
and projects:
My current research is in new techniques for autonomous science, and the mission design and operations consequences of such increased autonomy capabilities. Many of the autonomy applications call for automated interpretation of images of natural scenes, and I develop techniques to do that, both for geological and atmospheric applications.

I work with the AEGIS software team, which is rolling out a new autonomous target-selection capability for the ChemCam instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory mission. I also work in science operations for the mission, as Science Payload Uplink Lead (sPUL) for ChemCam, and as Science Theme Group Lead for Environmental and Atmospheric Science (ENV-STL). Outside of MSL, I test autonomy and operations techniques in terrestrial analogue environments from Canada's high arctic to California's hot deserts.


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Kiri L. Wagstaff, Raymond Francis, Thamme Gowda, You Lu, Ellen Riloff, Karanjeet Singh, and Nina L. Lanza. Mars Target Encyclopedia: Rock and Soil Composition Extracted from the Literature. Proceedings of the Thirtieth Annual Conference on Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence, 2018. (link to PDF) (CL#17-6080)

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Raymond Francis, Tara A Estlin, Kiri L Wagstaff, Gary Doran, Lukas Mandrake. Instrument Autonomy Techniques Enhance Science Return and Efficiency of Surface Missions. 3rd International Workshop on Instrumentation for Planetary Missions, 2016. (Link to publisher's site) (CL#16-4304)

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Dmitriy Bekker, David R. Thompson, William J. Abbey, Nathalie A. Cabrol, Raymond Francis, Ken S. Manatt, Kevin F. Ortega, Kiri L. Wagstaff. A Field Demonstration of an Instrument Performing Automatic Classification of Geologic Surfaces. Astrobiology, 2014. (Download PDF) (CL#14-1546)

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Raymond Francis, Kenneth McIsaac, David R. Thompson, Gordon R. Osinski. Autonomous Mapping of Outcrops using Multiclass Linear Discriminant Analysis. Proceedings of the International Symposium on AI, Robotics and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS) 2014. (Download PDF) (CL#14-1423)

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Raymond Francis, Kenneth McIsaac, David R. Thompson, Gordon R. Osinski. Autonomous Rock Outcrop Segmentation as a Tool for Science and Exploration Tasks in Surface Operations. SpaceOps 2014 Proceedings. (Download PDF) (CL#14-1529)