Autonomous Path Tracking Steering Controller for Extraterrestrial Terrain Exploration Rover

Mohammed Ahmed; Roland Sonsalla; Frank Kirchner

In: 40th COSPAR Scientific Assembly 2014. COSPAR Scientific Assembly (COSPAR-2014), 40th, August 2-10, Moscow, Russian Federation, Elsevier, 8/2014.


Extraterrestrial surface missions typically use a robotic rover platform to carry the science instrumentation (e.g.,the twin MER rovers [1]). Due to the risks in the rover path (i.e. low trafficability of unrecognized soil patches), it is proposed in the FASTER project [2] that two rovers should be used. A micro scout rover is used for determining the traversability of the terrain and collaborate with a primary rover to lower the risk of entering hazardous areas. That will improve the mission safety and the effective traverse speed for planetary rover exploration. This paper presents the design and implementation of the path following controller for a micro scout rover. The objective is to synthesize a control law which allows the rover to autonomously follow a desired path in a stable manner. Furthermore, the software architecture controlling the rover and all of its subsystems is depicted. The performance of the designed controller is discussed and demonstrated with realistic simulations and experiments, conclusions and an outlook of future work are also given.


Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence