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Proceedings Paper

Reconfigurable robots for all-terrain exploration
Author(s): Paul S. Schenker; Paolo Pirjanian; J. Balaram; K. S. Ali; Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu; Terrance L. Huntsberger; Hrand Aghazarian; Brett A. Kennedy; Eric T. Baumgartner; Karl D. Iagnemma; Adam Rzepniewski; Steven Dubowsky; Patrick C. Leger; Dimitrios Apostolopoulos; Gerard T. McKee
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Paper Abstract

While significant recent progress has been made in development of mobile robots for planetary surface exploration, there remain major challenges. These include increased autonomy of operation, traverse of challenging terrain, and fault-tolerance under long, unattended periods of use. We have begun work which addresses some of these issues, with an initial focus on problems of high risk access, that is, autonomous roving over highly variable, rough terrain. This is a dual problem of sensing those conditions which require rover adaptation, and controlling the rover actions so as to implement this adaptation in a well understood way (relative to metrics of rover stability, traction, power utilization, etc.). Our work progresses along several related technical lines: 1) development a fused state estimator which robustly integrates internal rover state and externally sensed environmental information to provide accurate configuration information; 2) kinematic and dynamical stability analysis of such configurations so as to determine predicts for a needed change of control regime (e.g., traction control, active c.g. positioning, rover shoulder stance/pose); 3) definition and implementation of a behavior-based control architecture and action-selection strategy which autonomously sequences multi-level rover controls and reconfiguration. We report on these developments, both software simulations and hardware experimentation. Experiments include reconfigurable control of JPS's Sample Return Rover geometry and motion during its autonomous traverse over simulated Mars terrain.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 October 2000
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 4196, Sensor Fusion and Decentralized Control in Robotic Systems III, (16 October 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.403744
Show Author Affiliations
Paul S. Schenker, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Paolo Pirjanian, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
J. Balaram, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
K. S. Ali, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Terrance L. Huntsberger, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Hrand Aghazarian, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Brett A. Kennedy, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Eric T. Baumgartner, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Karl D. Iagnemma, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Adam Rzepniewski, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Steven Dubowsky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Patrick C. Leger, Carnegie Mellon Univ. (United States)
Dimitrios Apostolopoulos, Carnegie Mellon Univ. (United States)
Gerard T. McKee, Univ. of Reading (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4196:
Sensor Fusion and Decentralized Control in Robotic Systems III
Gerard T. McKee; Paul S. Schenker, Editor(s)

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