Dr. Bob Touchton is the Chief Autonomy Scientist in the Leidos Sensors and Phenomenology Operation where he serves as their Autonomy Lead. He also serves as the Vice Chair of the SAE International’s Technical Committee on the Joint Architecture for Unmanned Systems (AS4 JAUS) as well as Chair of its Autonomy Task Group. Dr. Touchton has over 40 years of experience in technology innovation and leadership, engineering, software development, and project management, spanning autonomous systems, artificial intelligence, decision support systems, and intelligent control. He has led and participated in numerous robotic, autonomous perception and control, and unmanned system projects sponsored by the US military and private industry. Dr. Touchton was a team member and Finalist at both DARPA Grand Challenges and the DARPA Urban Challenge, events that catalyzed the movement towards self-driving automobiles.
Prior to joining Leidos in 2016, Dr. Touchton headed the Autonomy, Perception and Cognition Department of the Applied Research Lab at Penn State University. Past positions included Vice President of Business Innovation and Robotics at Prioria Robotics and Managing Director of Autonomous Systems for Honeywell’s Business Innovation Center. In 1984, he co-founded PathTech Software Solutions in Jacksonville, FL and served as its Chief Technology Officer for almost 20 years. Touchton began his career as a Nuclear Engineer in the commercial nuclear energy sector. Dr. Touchton holds two MS degrees, one in Nuclear Engineering from Carnegie Melon University and the other in Computer Science from the University of North Florida. In 2006, he received a Ph.D. from the University of Florida in Mechanical Engineering where his doctoral research focused on autonomous robotics. He is a native of Jacksonville, Florida and is a licensed Professional Engineer there.