The current state-of-the-art in autonomous systems is very promising on two divergent fronts. The bodies, or machines and sensors, have become more and more sophisticated and capable. Meanwhile, the algorithms that collect and interpret behavior are increasingly fine-tuned. We plan to bring these two together through a series of 'moonshot' challenges that we will undertake in the coming years.

Professor Morteza Gharib

Moonshot #1: Explorers

Planetary, Underwater, and Space Explorers

  • Robot mobility and teaming to navigate unknown and complex terrestrial environments
  • Planetary science explorers surviving and operating remotely on land, in water, and in space

Moonshot #2: Guardians

Dynamic Event Monitors and First Responders

  • Robot teams monitoring and responding to dynamic events (earthquakes, tsunamis, plumes, etc)
  • Surveying, gathering, and distributing critical information, thus multiplying the effectiveness of human responders

Moonshot #3: Transformers

Swarms of Autonomous Robots Transforming Shapes and Functions

  • In-space and on-surface deployment, construction, and assembly of complex structures (e.g., space telescopes, planetary habitats)
  • Formation flying, self-assembly, and reconfiguration of autonomous swarms for science, observation, and communication

Moonshot #4: Transporters

Robotic Flying Ambulances and Delivery Drones

  • Safe operation of flying ambulances and urban aerial mobility systems surviving all weather conditions
  • Aerial delivery systems on Earth and Mars

Moonshot #5: Partners

Robots Helping and Entertaining People

  • Butlers and nurses caring for the sick and elderly
  • Entertainers and guides safely interacting with visitors
  • Robots helping doctors perform surgery and improve recovery
  • Assistive devices improving function, mobility, and quality of life



Associate Directors

CAST Steering Committee

CAST Scientific Advisory Committee

Chief Project Consultant

David Kremers

David Kremers

Visitor in Aerospace


Peggy Blue

Peggy C. Blue

Operations Manager

Jamie Meighen-Sei

Jamie Meighen-Sei

Special Assistant to the Director of GALCIT & CAST

Reza Nemovi

Reza Nemovi

CAST Lab Manager

Robert Perkins

Robert Perkins

Content and Media Strategist

Stephanie Rider

Stephanie Rider

Aerospace Research Laboratories Manager



Combining AI and Robots

By: Caltech

Read Article


LEONARDO Bipedal Robot with Thrusters

By: Caltech

Watch Video


CAST Awards Seed Funding to Three New Projects

By: Trity Pourbahrami

Read Article


"Neural Lander" Uses AI to Land Drones Smoothly

New system employs a deep neural network to overcome the challenge of ground-effect turbulence

By: Robert Perkins

Read Article

CAST Neural Lander (Caltech)
CAST Neural Lander (Caltech)

A Gift of Autonomy

By: Caltech Breakthrough

Read Article


Caltech's latest creation: A hovering, bird-like robot that could someday explore Mars

By: Perter Holley | The Washington Post

Read Article


This Birdlike Robot Uses Thrusters to Float on Two Legs

By: Matt Simon | WIRED

Read Article


Caltech Building Agile Humanoid Robot by Combining Legs With Thrusters

By: Evan Ackerman | IEEE Spectrum

Read Article


Robots Prepare to Go Underground for Latest DARPA Challenge

By: Ray Linsenmayer | Robotics Business Review

Read Article


Caltech’s New CAST Facility Simulates Testing Environments for Drones, Robots, and Satellites

By: Nicole Zaro Stahl | Tradeline

Read Article


Drone and Robotics Assembly Lab

Enclosed Aerodrome

Real Weather Wind Tunnel

Spacecraft Assembly and Simulation Facility

Advanced Mobility Lab

CAST - spacecraft flight lab - from JPL Technology Highlights
CAST - ambulance - from JPL Technology Highlights


Corporations and industry members will play a key role in the development of CAST technologies and the new generations of autonomous systems. Through these partnerships and collaborations, industry members will help to bring the resulting products to market faster.

CAST lab

Memberships are available at different levels and include various benefits. Benefits may include first look into research progress and results, membership to CAST Corporate Advisory Board (CCAB), IP preferential terms, membership to Caltech Corporate Partners Program (CP²), among others.

For all membership levels, a portion of the membership fee may be eligible for a 1:2 dollar match program from the Stanback Fund. This can maximize the impact of your contribution.

Contact us if you are interested in collaborating with CAST and becoming a member to tap into the collective brainpower of one of the world’s leading research institutions. We will creatively collaborate to tailor the partnership that meets your specific needs and ensures maximum benefit.

Palas Policroniades
Palas Policroniades
Corporate Partnerships Officer
1200 East California Boulevard, MC 6-32
Pasadena, CA 91125
(626) 395-4503
Innovation at Caltech

Get Involved

Your organization can engage in many ways with CAST’s faculty and researchers. To find out more details, please contact:

Palas Policroniades
Palas Policroniades
Corporate Partnerships Officer
1200 East California Boulevard, MC 6-32
Pasadena, CA 91125
(626) 395-4503
Innovation at Caltech

Investment in people, programs, and infrastructure will be critical to ensure CAST continues to play a leadership role in their investigations and in furthering game-changing discoveries. Direct support to CAST impacts researchers and students in meaningful ways, allowing the freedom necessary to pursue unique research that has significant implications for science, engineering and humanity's future.

For more information on how you can partner with CAST in these efforts, please contact:

Laura Grinnell
Laura J. Grinnell
Director of Development, Engineering and Applied Science
1200 East California Boulevard, MC 5-32
Pasadena, CA 91125
(626) 395-2385
Related Links:
Morteza Gharib
Morteza Gharib
CAST Director

CAST is an interdisciplinary center with collaborating faculty and students from the following departments. For academic or admissions related inquiries, please visit: