A software system generates sequences of commands for the operation of a robotic vehicle. The system was adapted to control Rocky 7, a semiautonomous instrumented vehicle of the "rover" type used in scientific exploration of Mars. The software system was developed by integrating two software systems reported in previous NASA Tech Briefs articles: Web Interface for Telescience (WITS) and Automated Scheduling and Planning Environment (ASPEN). WITS provides a high-level graphical interface, through which a user can specify scientific activities and locations by referencing to images of the environment of the robotic vehicle. ASPEN accepts the scientific goals specified by use of WITS, then reasons about the low-level activities and resources needed to attain these goals. ASPEN then generates an executable sequence of commands to perform the requested scientific observations; these include commands to travel to and/or between specified locations in order to arrive at locations where observations are to be performed. In generating the commands, ASPEN enforces flight rules and detects and resolves conflicts over resources by reordering scientific observations, adding required activities, and/or deleting low-priority observations. The further development of this software system is likely to include installation of the software in the rover itself to enable the rover to schedule its own activities, and thus to behave more autonomously.

This parogram was written by Gregg Rabideau, Steve Chien, Paul Backes, Gene Chalfant, and Tara Estlin of Caltech and Kam Tso of IA Tech, Inc., for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at www.nasatech.com/tsp under the Software category.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Don Hart of the California Institute of Technology at (818) 393-3425. Refer to NPO-20574.

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Automated planning and scheduling for a robotic vehicle

(reference NPO-20574) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the February, 2000 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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