NASA STTR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 T1.03-9922
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Information Technologies for Intelligent Planetary Robotics
PROPOSAL TITLE: Anytime Summarization for Remote Robot Operations

NAME: TRACLabs, Inc. NAME: Brigham Young University
STREET: 100 N.E. Loop 410, Suite 520 STREET: A-285 ASB
CITY: San Antonio CITY: Provo
STATE/ZIP: TX  78216 - 1234 STATE/ZIP: UT  84602 - 1231
PHONE: (281) 461-7886 PHONE: (801) 422-3360

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Debra Schreckenghost
100 N.E. Loop 410, Suite 520
San Antonio, TX 78216 - 1234
(281) 461-7886

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
NASA plans to use intelligent planetary rovers to improve the productivity and safety of human explorers. A key challenge in using robots to support human exploration is orienting remote personnel about robot operations as latency and communication constraints make real-time monitoring impractical. Communication bandwidth will be limited, making it essential to downlink important information early. Periods with no communication will require ground operations to catch up quickly when communication resumes. Consequently ground operators can no longer rely on eyes-on monitoring to orient them about robot performance and progress on mission objectives. Summary measures are needed to identify what progress the robot has made and, when progress is impeded, to indicate what went wrong. Trending measures also are needed that determine how well robotic assets are being utilized and identify opportunities to improve robot productivity. TRACLabs and Brigham Young University propose to develop software for anytime summarization that orients remote personnel quickly about rover operations performed without continuous, high bandwidth communication. An anytime summary will characterize progress on robot operations using whatever data has been downlinked when the summary request is made. It will compute performance measures that give an overview of robot mission success and the efficiency and effectiveness of robot operations, and will provide a launch point for interactive exploration of performance data. Because the quality of an anytime summary is affected by the latency in data availability for ground processing, we will investigate what summary information should be pre-computed by the robot, and the preferred order in which information should be downlinked. During Phase I we will design and prototype software for anytime summarization. We will evaluate this design for use in rover operations using NASA IRG robots. Phase I will produce a design for implementation in Phase II.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Anytime summarization supports crew-centered operations by assisting astronauts in understanding robot performance without eyes-on supervision. These summaries also help remote controllers come up to speed quickly when they cannot observe operations directly due to communication constraints. The proposed project will develop and evaluate quantifiable metrics for robot performance that can be applied at different levels of robot autonomy (NASA Roadmap TA4). The technology for anytime summarization has direct application in NASA analogue field tests with intelligent rovers. One such test is rover exploration of a lava tube as a terrestrial analog for Mars subsurface exploration. Such subsurface operations will result in periods where the rover is out of communication. The proposed software will provide key performance indicators and interactive data exploration to quickly orient personnel once the rover is back in communication. The proposed metrics for data coverage and quality should help science teams find the best data collected by intelligent rovers, such as the Haughton Mars Project field tests. The strategies developed for providing the summaries when access to data is delayed should be applicable for field tests investigating time-delayed operations, such as Desert RATS.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The Department of Defense has increasingly relied on remotely operated robots and unmanned drones for hazardous missions, such as disarming improvised explosive devices or performing aerial surveillance. The software for anytime summarization supports remote situation awareness of such operations. In fact the measures of data quality and coverage were originally developed for video collected by UAV.

In the private sector, remote monitoring of drilling operations has much in common with remote space operations. Drilling operations are hazardous, making remote operations desirable. Monitoring for key performance indicators is needed to ensure safety and to make operations more cost effective. The proposed anytime summarization aids situation awareness for remote monitoring of drilling operations.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Man-Machine Interaction
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)

Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:44