Cliffbot Maestro (see figure) permits teleoperation of remote rovers for field testing in extreme environments. The application user interface provides two sets of tools for operations: stereo image browsing and command generation.

Cliffbot Maestro User Interfaces.
The stereo image-browsing feature allows the operator to see images in either 2D or 3D views. This is useful in order to develop a route for the rover to safely drive, as well as identify interesting objects for scientific exploration.

The command-generation tool is used to author a script (using either a drag & drop interface, or a textual command-line one) and send it to the rover. These scripts are not only for driving, but also for sample collection, reconnaissance, imaging, and science data acquisition.

The software runs on dedicated hardware that can withstand extremely cold temperatures. Its test bed is a Panasonic Toughbook (or equivalent) rugged laptop operating in the deep Arctic for extended periods. While the hardware doesn’t have to be cutting-edge, it must withstand continued cold.

Cliffbot Maestro also provides engineering metrics about the state of the rover, in order to monitor its health, as well as the condition of the robotic arm. This allows for remote support while in the field.

This work was done by Jeffrey S. Norris, Mark W. Powell, Jason M. Fox, Thomas M. Crockett, and Joseph C. Joswig of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology at (626) 395-2322. Refer to NPO-46433.