Scarab can autonomously avoid obstacles and reach distant goals. Scarab senses the terrain with laser scanners, which operate in daylight as well as darkness. Onboard navigation software uses the laser data to generate a model of the world and safely drive towards a goal.
A small sweeping laser is mounted near the top of the mast. This sensor detects obstacles immediately in front of the rover.
The main sensor is called the TriDAR. This device scans a laser vertically as well as horizontally to produce three dimensional models. The TriDAR is mounted lower on the mast and periodically scans the terrain far ahead of the rover.
The navigation software is responsible for commanding rover motions to reach a goal. First laser data is assembled into a mesh model of the terrain. Next obstacles are identified by simulating motion in the virtual world. Finally the navigator identifies the action which brings the rover closest to the goal.