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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Real-Time Integrated Navigation System for Planetary Exploration (RT-INSPEX)

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Real-Time Integrated Navigation System for Planetary Exploration (RT-INSPEX), Phase I
For this topic, American GNC Corporation (AGNC) is proposing the "Real-Time Integrated Navigation System for Planetary Exploration" (RT-INSPEX) to off load work from robot operators and astronauts by providing semi to fully-autonomous navigation with infrastructure-free localization, terrain awareness and traversability estimation, and map generation of unknown environments. NASA is currently requiring improved mobile robotics navigation solutions for operation in both man-made and unstructured environments based on emerging state-of-the-art sensors and software. A common theme in planetary exploration missions is lacking access to the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), making autonomous navigation of vehicles such as rovers significantly difficult. For addressing NASA's needs, the proposed technology will provide terrain-aware and infrastructure-free navigation with: (1) advanced vision processing; (2) robot localization without GNSS based on fusion of various odometry sources; (3) terrain traversability estimation, where measured terrain parameters are matched to terramechanics models for assessing trafficability; and (4) local map generation. Phase II work takes these technologies as a foundation for adaptive collision avoidance of semi/fully-autonomous robotics based on consistent global maps generation and optimal route planning navigation. More »

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