AAAI Publications, Sixth European Conference on Planning

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An Integrated Planning and Scheduling Prototype for Automated Mars Rover Command Generation
Robert Sherwood, Andrew Mishkin, Steve Chien, Tara Estlin, Paul Backes, Brian Cooper, Gregg Rabideau, Barbara Engelhardt

Last modified: 2014-05-21


With the arrival of the Pathfinder spacecraft in 1997, NASA began a series of missions to explore the surface of Mars with robotic vehicles. The Pathfinder mission included Sojourner, a six-wheeled rover with cameras and a spectrometer for determining the composition of rocks. The mission was a success in terms of delivering a rover to the surface, but illustrated the need for greater autonomy on future surface missions. The operations process for Sojourner involved scientists submitting to rover operations engineers an image taken by the rover or its companion lander, with interesting rocks circled on the images. The rover engineers would then manually construct a one-day sequence of events and commands for the rover to collect data of the rocks of interest. The commands would be uplinked to the rover for execution the following day. This labor-intensive process was not sustainable on a daily basis for even the simple Sojourner rover for the two-month mission. Future rovers will travel longer distances, visit multiple sites each day, contain several instruments, and have mission duration of a year or more. Manual planning with so many operational constraints and goals will be unmanageable. This paper discusses a proof-of-concept prototype for ground-based automatic generation of validated rover command sequences from high-level goals using AI-based planning software.


Automated planning, scheduling

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