A computer program coordinates the activities of multiple instrumented robotic vehicles of the "rover" type intended for use in scientific exploration. The program is a master/slave, distributed version of the ASPEN planning software, other versions of which have been reported in several prior NASA Tech Briefs articles. On the basis of an input set of goals and the initial conditions of each rover, the program generates a sequence of activities that satisfy the goals while obeying the resource constraints and rules of operation of each rover. The program includes a central planning subprogram that assigns goals to individual rovers in such a way as to minimize the total traversal time of all the rovers while maximizing the scientific return. The remainder of planning is distributed among the individual rovers: each rover runs a subprogram that plans its activities to attain the goal(s) assigned to it.

This program was written by Tara Estlin, Darren Mutz, Steve Chien, Anthony Barrett, and Gregg Rabideau of Caltech 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-21031.

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Software for Coordinating Multiple Exploratory Robots

(reference NPO-21031) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the May, 2001 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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