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Human Robotic Systems (HRS): Controlling Robots over Time Delay

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

Human Robotic Systems (HRS): Controlling Robots over Time Delay

The high level objective of the Controlling Robots Over Time Delay activity is to develop technologies that enable safe and effective control of remote robots.   First, new techniques will be explored to enable remote operators to supervise multiple complex systems over near-Earth space time-delays of up to 50 seconds, while increasing the level of coordination between the robotic assets, and maintaining the safety of crew and critical systems.   Secondly, a tightly integrated sensor/software system will be developed, which can rapidly capture images and depth data of the surrounding environment and construct a 360-degree 3D virtual model optimized for remote interactive display within common visualization software packages, game engines, and immersive display systems.  This technology will increase remote operator situational awareness through visualization and control in an immersive environment.

This element involves the development of software that enables easier commanding of a wide range of NASA relevant robots through the Robot Application Programming Interface Delegate (RAPID) robot messaging system and infusing the developed software into flight projects.  In June and July of 2013, RAPID was tested on ISS as the robot messaging software for the Technology Demonstration Mission (TDM) Human Exploration Telerobotics (HET) Surface Telerobotics experiment.  RAPID has also been made available to — and integrated with — the Robot Operating System (ROS), a popular software framework for developing state-of-the-art robots for ground and space. While ROS powers a number of new robots and components such as Robonaut 2's climbing legs and R5, the addition of RAPID allows these robots to interoperate in collaborative human-robot teams, safely and effectively over time-delayed communications links. The objective this year is to take this space-tested software and extend it to providing video streaming from remote robots and delivering this new capability to the Exploration Ground Data Systems (xGDS) area within HRS.  xGDS will then deliver its software to Science Mission Directorate (SMD) funded field tests to improve the technology readiness moving leading (potentially) to being used for the Lunar Prospector Mission ground data systems.  Success will involve delivering RAPID to xGDS and then xGDS supporting SMD field test. The team is also developing algorithms for sensors capable of reconstructing remote worlds and efficiently shipping that remote environment back to earth using the RAPID robot messaging system.  This type of system could eventually lead to scientists on earth gain new insights as they are able to step into the remote world.  This sensor also has the ability to engage the public, bringing remote worlds back to earth.  During FY13, this task used science operations personnel from current SMD projects to objectively measure improvement in remote science target selection and decision-making based. The team continues to work with SMD projects to ensure that the technologies being developed are directly responsive to SMD project personnel needs. The objective of this work in FY14 is to expand the range of science operations tasks addressed by the technology, and to perform laboratory demonstrations for JPL/SMD stakeholders of the immersive visualization of data from a sensor using an SMD representative environment. During 2014, the "Controlling Robots Over Time Delay" project element will develop two technologies: Develop RAPID robot messaging for unified cross-center operations platform for TDM, xGDS, and CCSDS Sensor Systems for the Construction of Immersive Virtual Environments

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