Battery Simulation for the Robotic Exploration of Lunar Lava Tubes.

Robotic systems need energy for general navigation and control of sensors and actuators, therefore it is important to monitor the system’s energy level for optimum performance. In addition, it is desirable to have the possibility of estimating the energy consumed by certain robotic operations given the current energy level for planning missions in order to guarantee the completion of the required task. The exploration of lunar lava tubes has become an important target for environmental sciences research as they can be potential sites for shelter from radiation, impacts by micrometeorites, and unstable temperatures for astronauts. Currently, many missions to explore the Lunar Lava tubes propose the use of autonomous rovers. An approach for the robotic autonomous exploration of the lava tubes has been explored in an analog environment by the CoRob-X project. In the study, a cave exploring rover obtains power supply and communication with the ground station using a docking station located at a fixed position in the cave. For the mission to be successful, the rover has to return to the docking station to recharge and upload the data collected during the autonomous exploration before the battery gets depleted.
Therefore, in this context, it is crucial to monitor the energy level and also provide an estimation of the energy consumption of the different traverses for more efficient and safe exploration. For this thesis, a simulation model of the rover’s battery has been implemented. This simulation mimics the actual battery consumption of the rover during exploration when using the robotic simulator and is able to display the battery’s State Of Charge when in motion. The battery simulation model is based on theoretical models and has been refined using existing log data collected with the rover during operations. The battery simulation has been integrated, tested, and evaluated using the MARS robotics simulation and the ROCK robotics framework.

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last updated 31.03.2023
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