Stephanie Schneider

Stephanie Schneider

Stephanie Schneider is a Ph.D. student in Aeronautics and Astronautics. She received her BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University in 2014. Prior to coming to Stanford, she worked as a software engineer and flight test engineer for Kitty Hawk Corporation (formerly Zee Aero). She is currently supported by a Stanford Graduate Fellowship.

Stephanie’s research interests include real-time spacecraft motion-planning, grasping and manipulation in space, and adaptive control for autonomous robotics. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys backpacking, skiing, climbing - basically any excuse to go up a mountain.


  • Stanford Graduate Fellowship

ASL Publications

  1. S. Schneider, A. Bylard, T. G. Chen, P. Wang, M. R. Cutkosky, and M. Pavone, “ReachBot: A Small Robot for Large Mobile Manipulation Tasks,” in IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, Montana, 2022. (In Press)

    Abstract: Robots are widely deployed in space environments because of their versatility and robustness. However, adverse gravity conditions and challenging terrain geometry expose the limitations of traditional robot designs, which are often forced to sacrifice one of mobility or manipulation capabilities to attain the other. Prospective climbing operations in these environments reveals a need for small, compact robots capable of versatile mobility and manipulation. We propose a novel robotic concept called ReachBot that fills this need by combining two existing technologies: extendable booms and mobile manipulation. ReachBot leverages the reach and tensile strength of extendable booms to achieve an outsized reachable workspace and wrench capability. Through their lightweight, compactable structure, these booms also reduce mass and complexity compared to traditional rigid-link articulated-arm designs. Using these advantages, ReachBot excels in mobile manipulation missions in low gravity or that require climbing, particularly when anchor points are sparse. After introducing the ReachBot concept, we discuss modeling approaches and strategies for increasing stability and robustness. We then develop a 2D analytical model for ReachBot’s dynamics inspired by grasp models for dexterous manipulators. Next, we introduce a waypoint-tracking controller for a planar ReachBot in microgravity. Our simulation results demonstrate the controller’s robustness to disturbances and modeling error. Finally, we briefly discuss next steps that build on these initially promising results to realize the full potential of ReachBot.

      author = {Schneider, S. and Bylard, A. and Chen, T. G. and Wang, P. and Cutkosky, M. R. and Pavone, M.},
      title = {{ReachBot:} {A} Small Robot for Large Mobile Manipulation Tasks},
      booktitle = {{IEEE Aerospace Conference}},
      year = {2022},
      note = {In press},
      address = {Big Sky, Montana},
      month = mar,
      url = {},
      keywords = {press},
      owner = {schneids},
      timestamp = {2021-11-04}
  2. T. G. Chen, B. Miller, C. Winston, S. Schneider, A. Bylard, M. Pavone, and M. R. Cutkosky, “ReachBot: A Small Robot with Exceptional Reach for Rough Terrain,” in Proc. IEEE Conf. on Robotics and Automation, 2022. (In Press)

    Abstract: ReachBot is a new concept for planetary exploration, consisting of a small body and long, lightweight extending arms loaded primarily in tension. The arms are equipped with spined grippers for anchoring on rock surfaces. The design and testing of a planar prototype is presented here. Experiments with rock grasping and coordinated locomotion illustrate the advantages of low inertia passive grippers, triggered by impact and using stored mechanical energy for the internal force. Gripper design involves a trade-off among the range of possible grasp angles, maximum grasp force, required triggering force, and required reset force. The current prototype can pull with up to 8 N when gripping volcanic rock, limited only by the strength of the 3D printed components. Calculations predict a maximum pull of 26 N for the same spines and stronger materials.

      author = {Chen, T. G. and Miller, B. and Winston, C. and Schneider, S. and Bylard, A. and Pavone, M. and Cutkosky, M. R.},
      title = {{ReachBot:} {A} Small Robot with Exceptional Reach for Rough Terrain},
      booktitle = {{Proc. IEEE Conf. on Robotics and Automation}},
      year = {2022},
      note = {press},
      url = {/wp-content/papercite-data/pdf/Chen.Miller.ea.RAL22.pdf},
      keywords = {press},
      owner = {bylard},
      timestamp = {2021-12-09}