Proceedings PaperSpace Station Automation: The Role of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
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Automation of the space station is necessary to make more effective use of the crew, to carry out repairs that are impractical or dangerous, and to monitor and control the many space station subsystems. Intelligent robotics and expert systems play a strong role in automation, and both disciplines are highly dependent on a common artificial intelligence (Al) technology base. The AI technology base provides the reasoning and planning capabilities needed in robotic tasks, such as perception of the environment and planning a path to a goal, and in expert systems tasks, such as control of subsystems and maintenance of equipment. This paper describes automation concepts for the space station, the specific robotic and expert systems required to attain this automation, and the research and development required. It also presents an evolutionary development plan that leads to fully automatic mobile robots for servicing satellites. Finally, we indicate the sequence of demonstrations and the research and development needed to confirm the automation capabilities. We emphasize that advanced robotics requires AI, and that to advance, AI needs the "real-world" problems provided by robotics.