The AI Program at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Lessons Learned During the First Seven Years

  • Melvin D. Montemerlo


This article is a slightly modified version of an invited address that was given at the Eighth IEEE Conference on Artificial Intelligence for Applications in Monterey, California, on 2 March 1992. It describes the lessons learned in developing and implementing the Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Program at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In so doing, the article provides a historical perspective of the program in terms of the stages it went through as it matured. These stages are similar to the "ages of artificial intelligence" that Pat Winston described a year before the NASA program was initiated. The final section of the article attempts to generalize some of the lessons learned during the first seven years of the NASA AI program into AI program management heuristics.