James J. Kuffner Jr.

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James Kuffner
James Kuffner
Born James Joseph Kuffner Jr.
United States
Residence United States
Nationality American
Fields Robotics
Institutions CMU
Alma mater Stanford
Doctoral advisor Jean-Claude Latombe
Known for RRT
Cloud Robotics

James J. Kuffner, Jr. (born 1971) is an American roboticist and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University and Chief Technology Officer at Toyota Research Institute.[1] Dr. Kuffner received a Ph.D. from the Stanford University Dept. of Computer Science Robotics Laboratory in 1999, and was a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Tokyo working on software and planning algorithms for humanoid robots. He joined the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute in 2002.

Kuffner is best known for his work on RRTs for humanoid robot motion planning .[2] The RRT algorithm has become a key benchmark for sampling-based exploration of high-dimensional search spaces for robot motion planning. Kuffner has published over 125 technical papers and was issued more than 40 patents related to robotics and computer vision technology. Kuffner received the Okawa Foundation Award for Young Researchers in 2007.

Kuffner joined Google in 2009 and was a member of the software engineering team that developed the Google self-driving car.[3] Kuffner is also known for introducing the term "Cloud Robotics" in 2010 to describe how network-connected robots could take advantage of distributed computation and data stored in the cloud.[4]

Kuffner co-founded with Andy Rubin Google's investments in Robotics technology, built primarily from the acquisition of innovative companies such as Boston Dynamics, Schaft, Industrial Perception, Meka, and Redwood Robotics. Kuffner was appointed head of the Robotics division after Andy Rubin's departure from Google in October 2014. [5] [6] In May 2015, Kuffner brought together researchers in robotics, computer vision, and machine learning technology within Google Research to help realize the original Cloud Robotics concept. [7] [8]

In Jan 2016, Kuffner joined the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) where he is currently the Chief Technology Officer and Area Lead, Cloud Intelligence.[9]


  1. ^ http://www.pcworld.com/article/3019498/car-tech/google-loses-robotics-chief-to-toyotas-1b-research-lab.html
  2. ^ LaValle, Steven M.; Kuffner Jr., James J. (2001). "Randomized Kinodynamic Planning" (PDF). The International Journal of Robotics Research (IJRR). 20 (5). doi:10.1177/02783640122067453. 
  3. ^ Markoff, John (October 9, 2010). "Google Cars Drive Themselves, in Traffic". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ Guizzo, Erico (January 24, 2011). "Cloud Robotics: Connected to the Cloud, Robots Get Smarter". IEEE Spectrum. 
  5. ^ D'Onfro, Jillian (October 31, 2014). "Meet The Man Who's Now Leading Google's Top-Secret Robotics Projects". Business Insider. 
  6. ^ Barr, Alistair (October 31, 2014). "Google’s New Droid Commander Will Keep the Robots Rolling, Experts Say". Wall Street Journal. 
  7. ^ "Cloud Robotics: History and Future Outlook". U.C. Berkeley CITRIS Research Exchange. September 16, 2015. 
  8. ^ Pratt, Gill (August 31, 2015). "Is a Cambrian Explosion Coming for Robotics?". IEEE Spectrum. 
  9. ^ "James Kuffner". Toyota Research Institute. Retrieved 2016-12-03. 

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