Navigability Evaluation and Visualization for Mars Rover Operations

Goodsell, T., Snorrason, M., Ruda, H., and Ablavsky, V.

Proceedings of the International Conference on Visualization, Imaging and Image Processing, Marbella, Spain (September 2001)

We have developed the Rover Obstacle Visualizer and Navigability Evaluator (ROVANE) as a navigability evaluation and visualization suite to assist in distributed mission planning for NASA Mars Rover missions. Since mission scientists are not experts on rover mobility, ROVANE takes terrain data, in the form of panoramic stereo images captured by the rover, and generates a number of terrain visualizations for assessing terrain navigability. In particular, ROVANE generates several different overhead views, a traversability map, and navigable paths to user defined goals. These paths consider best-, worst-, and intermediate-case scenarios. ROVANE thus allows non-experts to examine scenarios and plan missions which have a high probability of success. ROVANE is capable of stand-alone operation, but it is designed to work with JPL’s Web Interface for Telescience, an Internet-based tool for collaborative command sequence generation.

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