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Special Issue: Modern Sensing Technologies

Vol. 90, April 2008, pp. 233-242

 

 Bullet

Slip Validation and Prediction for Mars Exploration Rovers

 

Jeng Yen

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

Pasadena, California, USA

E-mail: Jeng.Yen@jpl.nasa.gov

 

 

 Received: 15 October 2007   /Accepted: 20 February 2008   /Published: 15 April 2008

 

Abstract: This paper presents a novel technique to validate and predict the rover slips on Martian surface for NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover mission (MER). Different from the traditional approach, the proposed method uses the actual velocity profile of the wheels and the digital elevation map (DEM) from the stereo images of the terrain to formulate the equations of motion. The six wheel speed from the empirical encoder data comprises the vehicle's velocity, and the rover motion can be estimated using mixed differential and algebraic equations. Applying the discretization operator to these equations, the full kinematics state of the rover is then resolved by the configuration kinematics solution in the Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program (RSVP). This method, with the proper wheel slip and sliding factors, produces accurate simulation of the Mars Exploration rovers, which have been validated with the earth-testing vehicle. This computational technique has been deployed to the operation of the MER rovers in the extended mission period. Particularly, it yields high quality prediction of the rover motion on high slope areas. The simulated path of the rovers has been validated using the telemetry from the onboard Visual Odometry (VisOdom). Preliminary results indicate that the proposed simulation is very effective in planning the path of the rovers on the high-slope areas.

 

Keywords: MER, Mars Rover, multi-body simulation, configuration kinematics, autonomous navigation

 

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