Simple sensors for performing useful tasks autonomously in complex outdoor terrain

Erann Gat, Albert Behar, Rajiv Desai, Robert V. Ivlev, John L. Loch, David P. Miller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


This paper describes the control system for Rocky IV, a prototype microrover designed to demonstrate proof-of-concept for a low-cost scientific mission to Mars. Rocky IV uses a behavior-based control architecture which implements a large variety of functions displaying various degrees of autonomy, from completely autonomous long-duration conditional sequences of actions to very precisely described actions resembling classical AI operators. The control system integrates information from infrared proximity sensors, proprioceptive encoders which report on the state of the articulation of the rover's suspension system and other mechanics, a homing beacon, a magnetic compass, and contact sensors. In addition, significant functionality is implemented as 'virtual sensors', computed values which are presented to the system as if they were sensors values. The robot is able to perform a variety of useful tasks, including soil sample collection, removal of surface weathering layers from rocks, spectral imaging, instrument deployment, and sample return, under realistic mission- like conditions in Mars-like terrain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
PublisherPubl by Int Soc for Optical Engineering
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)0819410292
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993
EventSensor Fusion V - Boston, MA, USA
Duration: Nov 15 1992Nov 17 1992

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherSensor Fusion V
CityBoston, MA, USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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