Autonomous and semi-autonomous robotic systems require information about their surroundings in order to navigate properly. A video camera machine vision system can supply position information of external objects, but no range information. Ideally, a system that, in one package, provides 3-dimensional relative information about external objects is needed. To this end, Nanohmics will develop a lightweight, compact, low power, low cost, modular sensor system that produces a depth map of the surroundings. By combining a color optical camera, a multi-element range finding system, and digital processing electronics, a single low cost sensor system can be designed to provide relative position and anti-collision information i.e. a 3-Dimensional Vehicle Imaging Sensor for Incident Obstacle Navigation (3D VISION MapperTM
). The proposed system could, for example, be mounted on the long-neck mast near the PANCAMs and NAVCAMs on Martian robotic rovers.