Research: Coverage Planning
My work is part of the autonomy group's research. I am developing two
primary software modules for Nomad. The navigation planner is a module
for generating various path plans for Nomad to follow. Currently, this
module can generate 3 types of paths: a basically straight line path from
one point to another, a "farming" path which covers an area with straight
rows in a back and forth pattern, and a spiral path which covers an area
with an expanding spiral-like pattern. This module will be tested in Antarctica
this season (Nov - Dec 1998).
view of samples of these patterns is shown here, as generated by a simulator.
The red line shows the path of the robot itself, while the green shading
indicates the extent of coverage by the sensors mounted on the robot.
Actual Differential GPS ground tracks of Nomad following the farming
and spiral patterns are shown here, from testing at the slag heaps in Pittsburgh.
The images shown here are the best patterns generated to date. Click on
the images to see a time series of tests that gradually improved the robot's
ability to follow the given patterns.
The second primary software module is the mission planner. This module
has not been fully developed yet, and will not be tested this season. The
purpose of this module is to evaluate various plans and decide which one
the robot should utilize. These plans can include the coverage patterns
generated by the navigation planner as well as side trips to investigate
objects more closely with various sensors, such as examining a potential
meteorite with a spectrometer. The mission planner will take cost estimates
from the navigation planner and a sensor manager, and evaluate the costs
and benefits of various plans and combinations of plans, picking the best
one, based on the goals and constraints of the current mission. Some of
these goals and constraints might be complete coverage of an area, certainty
of meteorite detection, generation of solar power, and conservation of
power needed for locomotion.
Find out about the
navigation planner experiment in the current Antarctic expedition.
Robotic Search for Antarctic Meteorites 1998
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This document prepared by Michael