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In order to explore the moon more efficiently, it is very important to endow lunar rovers with increased autonomy both for exploration achievement of scientific goals and for safe navigation. In this paper, autonomous navigation techniques for lunar rovers are discussed, and an autonomous navigation scheme is presented. First, algorithm and technique of initial position determination of lunar rovers are introduced. Then, matched-features set is build by multi steps of image processing such as feature detection, feature tracking and feature matching. Based on the analysis of the image processing error, a two-stage estimation algorithm is used to estimate the motion, robust linear motion estimation is executed to estimate the motion initially and to reject the outliers, and Levenberg-Marquardt nonlinear estimation is used to estimate the motion precisely. The sun sensor is used to update the rover's heading periodically for long range navigation. Next, a weighted ZSSD algorithm is presented to estimate the image disparities by analyzing the traditional ZSSD. Finally, a virtual simulation system is constructed using the development tool of Open Inventor, this simulation system can provide stereo images for simulations of stereo vision and motion estimation techniques, simulation results are provided and future research work is addressed in the end.
Date of Conference: 17-20 Dec. 2006