/First Experiment in Sun-Synchronous Exploration

First Experiment in Sun-Synchronous Exploration

David Wettergreen, M Bernardine Dias, Benjamin Shamah, James Teza, Paul Tompkins, Christopher Urmson, Michael D. Wagner and William (Red) L. Whittaker
Conference Paper, International Conference on Robotics and Automation, pp. 3501-3507, May, 2002

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Sun-synchronous exploration is accomplished by reasoning about sunlight: where the Sun is in the sky, where and when shadows will fall, and how much power can be obtained through various courses of action. In July 2001 a solar-powered rover, named Hyperion, completed two sun-synchronous exploration experiments in the Canadian high arctic (75?). Using knowledge of orbital mechanics, local terrain, and expected power consumption, Hyperion planned a sun-synchronous route to visit designated sites while obtaining the necessary solar power for continuous 24-hour operation. Hyperion executed its plan and returned to its starting location with batteries fully charged after traveling more than 6 kilometers in barren, Mars-analog terrain. In this paper we describe the concept of sun-synchronous exploration. We overview the design of the robot Hyperion and the software system that enables it to operate sun-synchronously. We then discuss results from analysis of our first experiment in sun-synchronous exploration and conclude with observations.

BibTeX Reference
author = {David Wettergreen and M Bernardine Dias and Benjamin Shamah and James Teza and Paul Tompkins and Christopher Urmson and Michael D. Wagner and William (Red) L. Whittaker},
title = {First Experiment in Sun-Synchronous Exploration},
booktitle = {International Conference on Robotics and Automation},
year = {2002},
month = {May},
pages = {3501-3507},
keywords = {Planetary robotics, autonomy, solar power, path planning},