A document presents an updated discussion on a method of autonomous navigation for a robotic vehicle navigating across rough terrain. The method at an earlier stage of development was described in “Navigating a Mobile Robot Across Terrain Using Fuzzy Logic” (NPO-21199), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 27, No. 2 (February 2003), page 5a. To recapitulate: The method involves, among other things, the use of a measure of traversability, denoted the fuzzy traversability index, which embodies the information about the slope and roughness of terrain obtained from analysis of images acquired by cameras mounted on the robot. The improvements presented in the report focus on the use of the fuzzy traversability index to generate a traversability map and a grid map for planning the safest path for the robot. Once grid traversability values have been computed, they are utilized for rejecting unsafe path segments and for computing a traversalcost function for ranking candidate paths, selected by a search algorithm, from a specified initial position to a specified final position. The output of the algorithm is a set of waypoints designating a path having a minimal-traversal cost.

This work was done by Ayanna Howard, Homayoun Seraji, and Barry Werger of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free online at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Information Sciences category.

The software used in this innovation is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology at (818) 393-2827. Refer to NPO-30744.