Robotic Planetary Exploration by Sun-Synchronous Navigation

David Wettergreen, Benjamin Shamah, Paul Tompkins, and William (Red) L. Whittaker
Proceedings of the 6th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS '01), June, 2001.


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Abstract
Sun-synchronous navigation is accomplished by traveling opposite to planetary rotation, navigating with the sun, to remain continually in sunlight. At appropriate latitude and speed, solar-powered rovers can maintain continual exposure to solar radiation sufficient for sustained operation. We are prototyping a robot, named Hyperion, (Figure 1) for solar-powered operation in polar environments and developing sun-cognizant navigation methods to enable rovers to dodge shadows, seek sun, and drive sun-synchronous routes. We plan to conduct field experiments in a planetary-analog setting in the Canadian arctic to verify the algorithms that combine reasoning about sunlight and power with autonomous navigation and to validate parameters that will allow sun-synchronous explorers to be scaled for other planetary bodies. The paper provides a preliminary report on progress towards sun-synchronous navigation.

Keywords
planetary surface exploration, Hyperion solar-power mobile robot, sun-synchronous navigation

Notes
Sponsor: NASA
Associated Center(s) / Consortia: Field Robotics Center
Associated Project(s): Sun Synchronous Navigation

Text Reference
David Wettergreen, Benjamin Shamah, Paul Tompkins, and William (Red) L. Whittaker, "Robotic Planetary Exploration by Sun-Synchronous Navigation," Proceedings of the 6th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS '01), June, 2001.

BibTeX Reference
@inproceedings{Wettergreen_2001_3874,
   author = "David Wettergreen and Benjamin Shamah and Paul Tompkins and William (Red) L. Whittaker",
   title = "Robotic Planetary Exploration by Sun-Synchronous Navigation",
   booktitle = "Proceedings of the 6th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS '01)",
   address = "Montreal, Canada",
   month = "June",
   year = "2001",
}