ROAMAN is a computer program for autonomous navigation of a mobile robot on a long (as much as hundreds of meters) traversal of terrain. Developed for use aboard a robotic vehicle (rover) exploring the surface of a remote planet, ROAMAN could also be adapted to similar use on terrestrial mobile robots. ROAMAN implements a combination of algorithms for (1) long-range path planning based on images acquired by mast-mounted, wide-baseline stereoscopic cameras, and (2) local path planning based on images acquired by body-mounted, narrow-baseline stereoscopic cameras. The long-range path-planning algorithm autonomously generates a series of waypoints that are passed to the local pathplanning algorithm, which plans obstacleavoiding legs between the waypoints. Both the long- and short-range algorithms use an occupancy-grid representation in computations to detect obstacles and plan paths. Maps that are maintained by the long- and short-range portions of the software are not shared because substantial localization errors can accumulate during any long traverse. ROAMAN is not guaranteed to generate an optimal shortest path, but does maintain the safety of the rover.

This program was written by Terrance Huntsberger and Hrand Aghazarian of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free online at under the Software category.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology at (818) 393-2827. Refer to NPO-30532.

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Autonomous Navigation by a Mobile Robot

(reference NPO-30532) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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This article first appeared in the May, 2005 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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