Mobility Reconfiguration for Terrain Exploration using Human Inspired Perception
Brooks, Douglas Antwonne
Howard, Ayanna M.
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The ability of robotic units to autonomously navigate various terrains is critical to the advancement of robotic operation in natural environments. Next generation robots will need to adapt to their environment in order to accomplish tasks that are either too hazardous, too time consuming, or physically impossible for human-beings. Such tasks may include accurate and rapid explorations of various planets or potentially dangerous areas on Earth. Furthermore, because terrain variability typically increases as the distance that a rover traverses increases, it will be beneficial for robotic units to adapt to their surroundings. As a result, this research investigates a navigation control methodology for a multi-modal locomotive robot based upon passive perception. Surface estimation for robot reconfigurability is implemented using a region growing method, which characterizes the traversability of the terrain, in conjunction with passive perception regarding motion. A mathematical approach is then implemented that inherits human psychological aspects to direct necessary navigation behavior to control robot mobility. Physical experimentations in a simulated Mars yard are presented to validate the methodology.