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First experiment in sun-synchronous exploration

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8 Author(s)
D. Wettergreen ; Robotics Inst., Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA, USA ; B. Dias ; B. Shamah ; J. Teza
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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°N). 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. 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.

Published in:

Robotics and Automation, 2002. Proceedings. ICRA '02. IEEE International Conference on  (Volume:4 )

Date of Conference:

2002