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Proceedings Paper

Passive perception system for day/night autonomous off-road navigation
Author(s): Arturo L. Rankin; Charles F. Bergh; Steven B. Goldberg; Paolo Bellutta; Andres Huertas; Larry H. Matthies
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Paper Abstract

Passive perception of terrain features is a vital requirement for military related unmanned autonomous vehicle operations, especially under electromagnetic signature management conditions. As a member of Team Raptor, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed a self-contained passive perception system under the DARPA funded PerceptOR program. An environmentally protected forward-looking sensor head was designed and fabricated in-house to straddle an off-the-shelf pan-tilt unit. The sensor head contained three color cameras for multi-baseline daytime stereo ranging, a pair of cooled mid-wave infrared cameras for nighttime stereo ranging, and supporting electronics to synchronize captured imagery. Narrow-baseline stereo provided improved range data density in cluttered terrain, while wide-baseline stereo provided more accurate ranging for operation at higher speeds in relatively open areas. The passive perception system processed stereo images and outputted over a local area network terrain maps containing elevation, terrain type, and detected hazards. A novel software architecture was designed and implemented to distribute the data processing on a 533MHz quad 7410 PowerPC single board computer under the VxWorks real-time operating system. This architecture, which is general enough to operate on N processors, has been subsequently tested on Pentium-based processors under Windows and Linux, and a Sparc based-processor under Unix. The passive perception system was operated during FY04 PerceptOR program evaluations at Fort A. P. Hill, Virginia, and Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. This paper discusses the Team Raptor passive perception system hardware and software design, implementation, and performance, and describes a road map to faster and improved passive perception.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 May 2005
PDF: 16 pages
Proc. SPIE 5804, Unmanned Ground Vehicle Technology VII, (27 May 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.604064
Show Author Affiliations
Arturo L. Rankin, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Charles F. Bergh, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Steven B. Goldberg, Indelible Systems (United States)
Paolo Bellutta, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Andres Huertas, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Larry H. Matthies, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5804:
Unmanned Ground Vehicle Technology VII
Grant R. Gerhart; Charles M. Shoemaker; Douglas W. Gage, Editor(s)

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