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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Autonomous Multi-Robot Exploration using UWB, Phase I

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Autonomous Multi-Robot Exploration using UWB, Phase I
Single multi-sensor teleoperated systems are not optimal for NASA exploratory missions because they limit the coverage area and scope of exploration and create a single point for mission failure. A better solution would use many robots cooperating to maximize exploration area and location accuracy while minimizing total system power and weight. The goal of this research is to investigate pulsed-RF Ultra Wideband (UWB) technology for its ability to simultaneously provide enhanced ad hoc wireless communication, distributed precision navigation/localization, and radar sensing. The ultimate goal is development of a subsumed navigation layer providing a straightforward mechanism for distributed autonomous guidance algorithms to quickly detect, share, and adapt to changes in the environment using novel distributed navigation controls. Pulsed-RF UWB supports simultaneous communications, peer-to-peer precision ranging, and multi-static radar. Using this single basis technology will enable more and smaller exploratory agents. Using UWB would solve communication and localization issues, while providing the added benefit of radar sensing and imaging. Larger spatial areas would be more accurately explored with lower power/weight/volume and with much greater system redundancy. More »

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