Carnegie Mellon University
Dante II: Technical Description, Results and Lessons Learned

John Bares and David Wettergreen
International Journal of Robotics Research, Vol. 18, No. 7, pp. 621-649, July, 1999.

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Dante II is a unique walking robot that provides important insight into high-mobility robotic locomotion and remote robotic exploration. Dante's uniqueness stems from its combined legged and rappelling mobility system, its scanning laser rangefinder and its multi-level control scheme. In 1994 Dante was deployed and successfully tested in a remote Alaskan volcano, as a demonstration of the field-worthiness of these technologies. For more than five days the robot explored alone in the volcano crater using a combination of supervised autonomous control and teleoperated control. Human operators were located 120 km distant during the mission and interacted with the robot in both supervisory and direct teleoperation modes. This paper first describes in detail the robot, support systems, control techniques and user interfaces. We then describe results from the battery of field tests leading up to and including the volcanic mission. Finally, we put forth important lessons learned as they comprise the legacy of this project. We show that framewalkers are appropriate for rappelling in severe terrain, though tether systems have limitations. We also discuss the importance of future "autonomous" systems to realize when they require human support rather than relying on humans for constant oversight.

Mobile Robot, Walker, Exploration, Walking Robot, Behavioral Control, Tether, Rappelling

Sponsor: NASA
Grant ID: NAGW-1175
Associated Center(s) / Consortia: Field Robotics Center
Associated Project(s): Dante II
Number of pages: 28

Text Reference
John Bares and David Wettergreen, "Dante II: Technical Description, Results and Lessons Learned," International Journal of Robotics Research, Vol. 18, No. 7, pp. 621-649, July, 1999.

BibTeX Reference
   author = "John Bares and David Wettergreen",
   editor = "Michael Brady",
   title = "Dante II: Technical Description, Results and Lessons Learned",
   journal = "International Journal of Robotics Research",
   pages = "621-649",
   publisher = "Sage Science Press",
   address = "2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320",
   month = "July",
   year = "1999",
   volume = "18",
   number = "7",