Mr. Gianfranco Visentin has been with the European Space Agency (ESA) for the last 30 years.
He had previously worked as control engineer on aircraft flight software and active car body attitude control.
Since his beginning at ESA he has been with the Automation and Robotics (A&R) section working in support of ESA robotics projects and in Research and Development (R&D).
In supporting ESA projects he has participated to the development of the European Robot Arm (ERA), the Columbus Microgravity Facilities, the EUROBOT system (of which he was the initiator) and the ExoMars project.
His R&D efforts have covered the whole spectrum of technologies needed for space A&R including: conventional robotics platforms (rovers, robot arms), alternative robotic platforms (moles, aerobots, walking robots), robot autonomy, teleoperation and remote control (robot programming stations, exoskeletons), perception (computer vision) and subsystems (robot joints, controllers).
He is the inventor of some original space concepts such as 3D digital camcorders (2 flown in the International Space Station), arm exoskeletons for space use, capture of space debris by means of throw nets.
Since 2002 he leads the A&R group.
In his current post Mr. Visentin is ESA’s responsible of the technology domain for Automation and Robotics, role that entails the preparation of ESA’s R&D strategy for the field and coordination with other European research organizations.
He is chair/co-chair of the ASTRA and iSAIRAS conferences which are the prime forums for discussion of ideas and achievements in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in space.
Since 2015 he is also coordinator of the European Commission (EC) funded project PERASPERA (AD ASTRA) that provides the EC with the roadmap for developments within the H2020 space robotics technology Strategic Research Cluster (SRC).