Many medical treatments such as brachytherapy, thermal ablation, and biopsy are performed using percutaneous needle-based procedures. The success of these procedures highly depends on accurate placement of the needle tip at target positions. A novel active needle was designed and developed in this work that can steer inside the tissue via a shape memory alloy (SMA) actuator attached to its body. With actuation and control offered by the actuator, the active needle can reach the target positions with more accuracy, and thereby potential improvement in clinical outcomes. An integrated system was also developed to robotically operate the active needle insertion. The performance of the active needle was evaluated with finite element methods and experimental tests on a fabricated prototype in air. Active needle insertion tests in a tissue phantom were also performed to evaluate the performance of the active needle. The deflection in air and tissue phantom demonstrated the capability of the active needle to reach target positions.