As part of a NASA test course challenge, Teledyne DALSA engineered a winning Miniature Autonomous Roving Vehicle (MARV), earning the company a $350M contract with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.
Competitors were tasked with building a MARV that could detect, recognize, maneuver, collect, transport, and deposit sample blocks on a test course without advance knowledge of course layout, lighting conditions, or range. The course also included obstacles standing in the way of the MARV’s objective of picking up as many blocks as possible and depositing them into a high-reach collection bin.
Teledyne Scientific engineers, who were responsible for integrating the MARV’s vision component, sourced an Icon M640 monochrome user-programmable camera from sister company Teledyne DALSA. The M640 camera incorporates a 1.73 × 1.73 × 1.73" embedded vision system.
Time stamp capabilities in the software accurately determine the batterypowered MARV’s range and bearing, enabling it to act and react in a timely manner. A monochrome, one-camera configuration reduces bandwidth, while redundant logic assists with test course unknowns.