Safe Long-Range Traversal for Planetary Rovers through Forward Sensing
In Proceedings of the 12th Symposium on Advanced Space Technologies in Robotics and Automation, (ASTRA-2013), 15.5.-17.5.2013, Noordwijk, o.A., May/2013.
Despite the increase in autonomous capabilities of mobile robots, planetary exploration rovers are severely limited in their operational paradigms. Current rover operations, especially the traverse operations, involve day to day planning and simulation with human involvement for the estimation of potential dangers faced by the rover. Additionally, due to the large investment represented by the rovers, operations tend to be carried out in a cautious manner, with minimal autonomous deliberation. Such limits on the daily traverse, though motivated by concerns of safety and overall success, are not sufficient for future missions.
This paper describes an operations concept for safe, long range traverses for planetary rovers based on forward sensing of terrain trafficability, and presents the software architecture enabling such operations.