ECE Seminar- EE290: New Frontiers for Robotic Perception in Extreme Environments 

Speaker Name: 
Uland Wong, Michael Dille, and Michael Furlong
Speaker Title: 
NASA Ames Research Center Senior Computer Scientists 
Speaker Organization: 
Start Time: 
Monday, December 10, 2018 - 10:40am
End Time: 
Monday, December 10, 2018 - 11:40am
E2 192
Sara Abrahamsson & Yu Zhang

Abstract​​: Extreme environments like the lunar poles, surfaces of icy moons, and Martian caves represent treasure troves for scientific exploration – and they are unlike any ​seen on Earth. Optical conditions including oblique illumination, high dynamic range, translucency, retroreflective dusts, and total darkness challenge the limits of current robotic sensing paradigms. The total unfamiliarity of robot algorithms and human operators with visual appearance in these environments greatly increases mission risks. In this talk, we will summarize our on-going work in the NASA Ames Intelligent Robotics Group to get robots to “see well” in next-gen exploration targets. Our approaches have varied between photorealistic rendering for simulation, setting up giant sandboxes in a lab, and earth analog testing, to development of unorthodox robot systems from Tyrolean descenders to projectile sensors. Underlying all of these efforts is a modern interpretation of model-based perception, including exploitation of the optical principles governing appearance in planetary spaces and even biologically-plausible models of cognition. We will briefly describe several flight missions in which our group has played a primary role and have served as proving grounds for such approaches. Lastly, plans for future application to upcoming missions to unexplored areas of the solar system will be presented.

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