Abstract for the November 14, 1997 Robotics Institute Seminar

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Autonomous Long Range Navigation for Planetary Rovers

Raja Chatila
LAAS-CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research)
Toulouse, France

4:00pm, Adamson Wing, Baker Hall

A planetary rover that has to achieve long range navigation cannot rely, in general, on permanent and immediate communications with a control station. The lack of knowledge about the environment and the robot's situation within the environment (unlike Sojourner which was observed by the Pathfinder lander), precludes direct teleoperation of robot motions. Therefore, the robot has to be endowed with a large degree of autonomy for achieving navigation. The capacity of planning and executing motions on various kinds of terrain is then essential and relies strongly on the ability to build adequate environment representations.
      The approach we have developed is primarly based on the adaptation of the perception and motion actions to the environment and the situation of the robot. The navigation task involves several levels of reasoning, several environment representations, and several action modalities. Additionally, the robot is endowed with a reasoning system for selecting sub-goals, navigation modes, and perception actions, according to the situation.
      We have performed experiments testing this approach to autonomous navigation with the mobile robot ADAM in a planetary-like environment. This work is continuing with two other robots, EVE and LAMA.

Biographical Sketch
Raja Chatila received his Ph.D. in control science from the University of Toulouse in 1981. He spent one year at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in 1982 as a post-doctoral scholar. Since 1983, he has been a research scientist at the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Group of LAAS-CNRS Toulouse, France, where he performs research on mobile robotics, architectures for planning and control, and perception and environment representation. He leads projects on intervention robots and planetary rovers.

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