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Proceedings Paper

Mars Rover Concept Development
Author(s): Louis S. McTamaney; Scott Y. Harmon
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Paper Abstract

FMC conducted a carefully structured study effort designed to develop an extensive set of mobility and navigation concepts for a planetary exploration vehicle. This focused study commenced with a requirements analysis that defined operational and functional requirements and constraints. Next, the physical system, its value system (evaluation parameters and design criteria) and the martian terrain design environment (surface models) were developed simultaneously. Mobility (the basic vehicle structure, suspension, and power train) and navigation (both global and local navigation including global reference, local terrain assessment, and guidance and control) concepts were developed independently and then integrated. Special attention was paid to the interdependency of navigation and locomotion in order to strike the appropriate balance between autonomy and mobility. Finally, the most promising concepts were subjected to a rigorous, structured evaluation process to derive the best candidate systems. To support the evaluation process, a three-layer computer model of the martian surface was developed. This model was based on the 1/64° Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of Mars developed by USGS Flagstaff. Local surface roughness based on measured martian slope distribution and power spectral density was superimposed on the DEM. Rocks based on H. Moore's distribution model were then added. To assess performance, selected concepts were modeled using DADSR from Computer Aided Software Inc., and simulations were run with the vehicle traversing the martian surface model, including one meter high vertical steps and one meter wide crevasses . During the course of this study, over 300 mobility concepts and more than 400 navigation concepts generated during a series of brainstorming sessions evolved into three promising candidate systems. The evolution of these systems is discussed; design details, conclusions and recommendations are presented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 March 1989
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 1007, Mobile Robots III, (10 March 1989); doi: 10.1117/12.949087
Show Author Affiliations
Louis S. McTamaney, FMC Corporation (United States)
Scott Y. Harmon, Robot Intelligence International (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1007:
Mobile Robots III
William J. Wolfe, Editor(s)

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