Oussama Khatib

Interview Location: United States

Interview Synopsis

In this interview, Oussama Khatib discusses his career in robotics, focusing on robot control and motion planning. Describing his work and research, he outlines his time at Stanford University and his involvement in several robotics projects, including the Stanford Robotics Platforms—Romeo and Juliet. Discussing the evolution and challenges of his work, he describes his move towards humanoid robotics and his involvement with robotics societies and activities, as well as provides advice for young people interested in a career in robotics.


Oussama Khatib was born in Aleppo, where he grew up before moving to France for his   undergraduate and graduate studies. He attended the University of Montpellier where he earned his B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1971 and 1974,   respectively. He later completed his Advanced Degree in Automatic Control in 1976 and his Ph.D in Automatic Systems in 1980 at the l’Ecole Nationale   Spuerieure de l’Aeronauque et de l’Escape. After graduating he joined the Computer Science Department at Stanford University as Senior/Research Associate from 1981 to 1989. From 1990 to 1999 he was an Associate Professor of Computer Science and (by courtesy) Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University, before being promoted to Full Professor in 2000. He also served multiple terms as a Visiting Professor at various universities, including the University of Singapore, EPFL, Paris VI, and Scuola Superiore S. Anna, as well as Director of the Stanford Computer Forum from 1997 to 1999. Other professional involvement includes being president of the International Foundation of Robotics Research, director of the Stanford Robotics Lab, and member of Stanford University Bio-X Initiative.   His research interests in robotics, include autonomous robots, human-centered robotics, human-friendly robot design, dynamic simulations, and haptic interactions. For his work in robotics he has received several awards, including the Japan Robot Association (JARA) Award in Research and Development in 1996, the IEEE RAS Pioneer Award in Robotics and Automation in 2010, and the IEEE RAS Distinguished Service Award in 2013.