18. Nov. 13, 1998, Friday:
Patriot Hills Camp
Kind of a grey day, but warmer and with the hint of sunshine later. Nomad started warming up at 8:30 a.m., to be ready to run at around 10:30. Stewart is in and out, ready to carry out obstacle-avoidance tests among the rocks. He left around 10 a.m. to be at Camp Crickett when Nomad gets warmed up. Alex will be working on his radar experiment today. The sun finally came out around 7:30 p.m.. There has been virtually no wind today, so the day meets my criteria to be classed as excellent.
Matt and Sib went to Camp Crickett last night, to be able to run Nomad from there. Matt plans to do some landmark-based navigation exercises with Nomad among large rocks at the tail end of a moraine whose other end is attached to the eastern end of Patriot Hills. Later in the day, Mike may do some locomotion tests. Stewart worked with Nomad all day, up until dinner time. The stereo cameras are not responding, possibly because of the earlier-detected intrusion of water vapor, so Stewart is left with his laser-signal obstacle detection and avoidance system, which he used with mixed results today among the rocks. One problem has been that the laser scans only a horizontal line at a known distance in front of the robot. If the robot approaches an upslope, it can appear to be an obstacle. It would be good in this case to have a second laser scanning at a slightly higher angle, or to have the laser source vertically adjustable under the control of a tiltmeter. With some modifications to its operating code, the system did avoid most obstacles, but did not see one large rock and had to be manually stalled when it reached the rock.
Matt and Mike were out there after dinner and back again around 4 a.m with no results at all due to computer problems..