Autonomous Rover Traverse and Precise Arm Placement on Remotely Designated Targets

Michael Fleder, Issa A.D. Nesnas, Mihail Pivtoraiko, Alonzo Kelly, and Richard Volpe. Autonomous Rover Traverse and Precise Arm Placement on Remotely Designated Targets. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2011.

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Abstract

Exploring planetary surfaces typically involves traversing challenging and unknown terrain and acquiring insitu measurements at designated locations using arm-mounted instruments. We present field results for a new implementation of an autonomous capability that enables a rover to traverse and precisely place an arm-mounted instrument on remote targets. Using point-and-click mouse commands, a scientist designates targets in the initial imagery acquired from the rover's mast cameras. The rover then autonomously traverses the rocky terrain for a distance of 10-15 m, tracks the target(s) of interest during the traverse, positions itself for approaching the target, and then precisely places an arm-mounted instrument within 2-3 cm from the originally designated target. The rover proceeds to acquire science measurements with the instrument. This work advances what has been previously developed and integrated on the Mars Exploration Rovers by using algorithms that are capable of traversing more rock-dense terrains, enabling tight thread-the-needle maneuvers. We integrated these algorithms on the newly refurbished Athena Mars research rover and fielded them in the JPL Mars Yard. We conducted 43 runs with targets at distances ranging from 5 m to 15 m and achieved a success rate of 93 percent for placement of the instrument within 2-3 cm.

BibTeX

@INPROCEEDINGS{fleder_etal_icra11,
  author = {Michael Fleder and Issa A.D. Nesnas and Mihail Pivtoraiko and Alonzo Kelly and Richard Volpe},
  title = {Autonomous Rover Traverse and Precise Arm Placement on Remotely Designated Targets},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the International Conference on Robotics and Automation},
  year = {2011},
  abstract = {Exploring planetary surfaces typically involves
                  traversing challenging and unknown terrain and
                  acquiring insitu measurements at designated
                  locations using arm-mounted instruments. We present
                  field results for a new implementation of an
                  autonomous capability that enables a rover to
                  traverse and precisely place an arm-mounted
                  instrument on remote targets. Using point-and-click
                  mouse commands, a scientist designates targets in
                  the initial imagery acquired from the rover's mast
                  cameras. The rover then autonomously traverses the
                  rocky terrain for a distance of 10-15 m, tracks
                  the target(s) of interest during the traverse,
                  positions itself for approaching the target, and
                  then precisely places an arm-mounted instrument
                  within 2-3 cm from the originally designated
                  target. The rover proceeds to acquire science
                  measurements with the instrument. This work advances
                  what has been previously developed and integrated on
                  the Mars Exploration Rovers by using algorithms that
                  are capable of traversing more rock-dense terrains,
                  enabling tight thread-the-needle maneuvers. We
                  integrated these algorithms on the newly refurbished
                  Athena Mars research rover and fielded them in the
                  JPL Mars Yard. We conducted 43 runs with targets at
                  distances ranging from 5 m to 15 m and achieved a
                  success rate of 93 percent for placement of the instrument
                  within 2-3 cm. },
  bib2html_pubtype = {Refereed Conference Papers},
  bib2html_rescat = {Mobile Manipulation},
  doi = {10.1109/ICRA.2011.5980090}
}

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