For the second year in a row, scientists from the robotics group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena CA (JPL Robotics) turned to Charles River Analytics for novel terrain visualization software for a large-scale rover field test.
The MER-FIDO 2001 Field Test took place April 30 – May 11 in the Mojave Desert, as a “dry run” for the 2003 Mars Exploration Rover Mission. The field test used the Field Integrated Design and Operations (FIDO) rover, which is very similar to the 2003 Mars Exploration Rover (MER). The rover was commanded via the Web Interface for Telescience (WITS), which is where we came in. Using our expertise in computer vision and terrain reasoning, we developed software that performs automatic obstacle detection and traversability analysis on the stereo imagery from the rover’s camera. Our software was seamlessly integrated with WITS, enabling the international team of scientists who will conduct the 2003 MER mission to practice commanding a rover in treacherous terrain.