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The PHARAOH Procedure Execution Architecture for Remote Operations of Autonomous Robots, Phase I

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

While historically all of NASA's human missions are carried out by crew members following English language procedure documents, robotic activities are usually performed by issuing much lower-level commands. This disconnect creates undue burden on mission operators as it requires the involvement of expert robot programmers to define each activity. In contrast, we propose that robots in space, just like human crew members, should be guided through vetted, human-readable procedures. Such an approach will allow NASA to seamlessly allocate new robotic capabilities and resources to existing space activities, as well as to facilitate the cooperation of humans and their robot assistants when performing joint activities. We propose to develop the PHARAOH system, which integrates TRACLabs' proprietary procedure authoring and execution software with our robot navigation, manipulation, and visualization tools. TRACLabs' Procedure IDE (PRIDE) and our affordance template (AT) robot planning & control software have been developed over the past few years in conjunction with NASA engineers and researchers on various projects. They represent the state of the art in their domains. Integration of these two research streams will result in the unprecedented simplification and standardization of how robots are used by mission operators (as opposed to robotic experts) to accomplish the tasks NASA requires. We envision non-robotics flight controllers eventually being able to re-task remote robotic assets by using English-language procedures that automatically map directly to robot capabilities on the back-end. More »

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