The proposed research is expected to lead to significant enhancements in performance of autonomous planetary robots. During Phase 2 of this work, we will demonstrate our planning and non-prehensile manipulation techniques to cognizant managers and engineers at NASA centers, with the aim of identifying potential future missions for transition of this technology. We expect that the 2020 Mars rover mission is an example of a wheeled rover mission that could directly benefit from the algorithms manipulation techniques developed under this STTR project. We will actively seek post-Phase 2 support to further develop, mature, and integrate our control technology into future NASA missions.
Beyond NASA, there is a large and growing application space for autonomous mobile manipulation and innovative approaches to automation of work in applications such as defense and security, mining and forestry, and infrastructure monitoring and inspection. Many of these systems are tasked with performing manipulation tasks in challenging or complex environments. The proposers will aim to transition the technology developed under this project beyond NASA, to dual-use applications in these various sectors.