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Proceedings Paper

A low-cost test-bed for real-time landmark tracking
Author(s): Ambrus Csaszar; Jay C. Hanan; Pierre Moreels; Christopher Assad
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Paper Abstract

A low-cost vehicle test-bed system was developed to iteratively test, refine and demonstrate navigation algorithms before attempting to transfer the algorithms to more advanced rover prototypes. The platform used here was a modified radio controlled (RC) car. A microcontroller board and onboard laptop computer allow for either autonomous or remote operation via a computer workstation. The sensors onboard the vehicle represent the types currently used on NASA-JPL rover prototypes. For dead-reckoning navigation, optical wheel encoders, a single axis gyroscope, and 2-axis accelerometer were used. An ultrasound ranger is available to calculate distance as a substitute for the stereo vision systems presently used on rovers. The prototype also carries a small laptop computer with a USB camera and wireless transmitter to send real time video to an off-board computer. A real-time user interface was implemented that combines an automatic image feature selector, tracking parameter controls, streaming video viewer, and user generated or autonomous driving commands. Using the test-bed, real-time landmark tracking was demonstrated by autonomously driving the vehicle through the JPL Mars yard. The algorithms tracked rocks as waypoints. This generated coordinates calculating relative motion and visually servoing to science targets. A limitation for the current system is serial computing−each additional landmark is tracked in order−but since each landmark is tracked independently, if transferred to appropriate parallel hardware, adding targets would not significantly diminish system speed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 May 2007
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 6555, Sensors and Systems for Space Applications, 655511 (3 May 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.720183
Show Author Affiliations
Ambrus Csaszar, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Jay C. Hanan, Oklahoma State Univ. (United States)
Pierre Moreels, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Christopher Assad, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6555:
Sensors and Systems for Space Applications
Richard T. Howard; Robert D. Richards, Editor(s)

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