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Field Report

April 17, 2003
Salar Grande, Atacama Desert, Chile

- Autonomous navigation and power measurement experiments
- Operations with mission planner/health monitor
- Visual odometry data collection

Status and Progress
- Tested mission planner/executive and health monitor. A number of
improvements coming as a result of yesterday's testing will allow
Hyperion to do more with a single plan, particularly in terms of
replanning when a goal point is not reached or when the robot falls
behind schedule. Although this will allow Hyperion to go farther and
with greater reliability it did require several hours of testing.
- Drove Hyperion. Despite our best efforts to get rolling early,
Hyperion began its traverse just after noon. Problems arose in getting
inter-process messages consistent between the planners and monitors.
The terrain Hyperion is now traversing is getting increasingly rough
with numerous obstacle-sized (> 15cm) rocks. Steep drainages, several
meters deep and several across, cut through the rolling terrain.
- Debugging fluorescence imaging. Although navigation, SPI and sun
sensor cameras are now working, the intermittent problems with the
firewire bus persist and we were unable to get images from the three
filtered cameras in the fluorescence imager. We will modify the
instrument to power its internal firewire hub. We will attempt to
collect a dataset after dark, tomorrow.
- Attempted SPI image. Just as the light levels started dropping we
scrambled to grab a stereo panoramic imager (SPI) data set. The
cameras came online and coordinated with the pan/tilt mechanism to grab
360° x 60° in 10° steps (on a 15° field of view lens). The system
worked only to reveal that the automatic white balance was not enabled
and the desert was exceedingly blue. Problem solved, but not before
the sun set.
- Collected localization data sets. Both the sun sensor and side view
cameras recorded data sets for absolute position estimation and visual
odometry, respectively. Tomorrow we will use a panoramic imager to
collect a dataset for visual odometry.
- Hyperion afield. Hyperion ended the day about 4km from our base
camp. We ran software and laser tests until well after dark so
Hyperion will need the morning sunlight to bring its batteries up to
the normal operating minimum.

- Operations with mission planner/health monitor
- SPI panorama capture

Morning: Cold, cloudy
Afternoon: Bright
Evening: Cold

Humidity Insolation Temperature Wind

Weather data is from April 16, the last complete day of data.

Vulture Count: 20

Quote of the Day
" Do not fear the square desert."


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