Perception, Planning, and Control for Autonomous Walking With the Ambler Planetary Rover
AbstractProducing a robotic system that can operate autonomously on other planets is a challenging task: The robot must be ex tremely self-reliant; it must be able to operate on a limited power budget; and it must be able to traverse a wide range of rugged terrain features. This article describes an integrated software system that combines perception, planning, real-time control, and task-level control to navigate autonomously the Ambler, a six-legged rover. The overall approach to walking is highly deliberative: Where actions are goal-directed, steps are planned out in detail using explicit models of the terrain and the vehicle, and moves are checked for safety prior to execution. We believe that this approach is well-suited to meet ing the challenges of reliability, efficiency, and terrainability faced by autonomous planetary rovers. The Ambler system has been extensively tested, both indoors and outdoors, and the results confirm our expectations regarding the degree of system capability and performance afforded by our approach.