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SBIR/STTR

Reliable Autonomous Surface Mobility (RASM) in Support of Human Exploration, Phase II

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Reliable Autonomous Surface Mobility (RASM) in Support of Human Exploration, Phase II
ProtoInnovations, LLC and Carnegie Mellon University have formed a partnership to commercially develop rover-autonomy technologies into Reliable Autonomous Surface Mobility (RASM). Our aim is to provide safe and reliable means for lunar rovers to travel at substantial speeds and operate in proximity to astronauts and other vehicles. Our unique partnership brings together state-of-art technologies for autonomous rover navigation with experience in delivering and supporting mobility systems for NASA. The RASM project will create an autonomy framework that is capable of supporting off-road vehicle speeds beyond 3 m/s with planetary-relevant constraints including a lack of infrastructure (such as GPS) and limited communication and computing resources. Our RASM framework is based on environment modeling, obstacle avoidance, path planning, and localization algorithms developed by Carnegie Mellon and proven by hundreds of kilometers of traverse in planetary analog landscapes on Earth. On the RASM project we will mature and package these algorithms in a reliable and portable software architecture that supports a variety of vehicle platforms, sensors, and middleware alternatives. Unique to RASM will be a failure-modes analysis of the autonomy system to model and mitigate hazards posed by operating alongside astronauts and lunar vehicles. Mission constraints and operating scenarios will vary broadly, so RASM will be adaptable. We will develop abstraction layers to enable portability across various vehicle chassis configurations, perception sensors, localization sensors, and communications protocols. In Phase 2 of the project, we will implement the portable architecture developed in Phase 1 and demonstrate its capability on KREX or LATUV vehicles developed by ProtoInnovations. More »

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