European navigation system will speed up the Mars rovers

European navigation system will speed up the Mars roversThe distance traveled by a robot rover, may increase by about 20 times due to the autonomous system of orientation in space.

During the years of service of modern rovers can take a couple of tens of kilometers – the distance people would overcome a few hours. The main reason for their tardiness that any slightest obstacle (the insignificance of the obstacles, however, can be deceptive) requires the consent of the Earth. To send the request on the instructions of their receipt, processing and fulfillment can spend about half an hour and the day, this situation is repeated many times.

Suffer from this problem does not just cell phones, but also planned to launch. For example, a European rover, which should become part of the mission ExoMars, will run about 100 meters daily, as a break will be made every few meters, says Kim Ward, project manager Seeker ("Finder"). This initiative is a British laboratory Rutherford – Appleton (RAL) in conjunction with several technology companies.

Seeker-rover or a terrestrial analogue (eg, Robovolc company BAE Systems, which is involved in the project) will receive from the circling orbit apparatus partner digital map of the surrounding area with a linear resolution of 1 m then the robot itself using visual odometry (estimates position and orientation by analyzing images of areas) will plan your route.

The day of planetary rovers will be able to move an average of a couple of miles, passing noticing interesting for researchers to sample soil or rocks.

Some algorithms have been used Seeker and the team of Mr. Ward links them into a single system that would be different low power consumption and low income "third party" sensory information. The work is part of a larger program of the European Space Agency (ESA) StarTiger ("Star Tiger"), which aims to encourage scientific and technological research for the needs of the space.

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