NASA STTR 2014 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 14-1 T11.01-9869
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Information Technologies for Intelligent and Adaptive Space Robotics
PROPOSAL TITLE: Advanced Algorithms and Controls for Superior Robotic All-Terrain Mobility

NAME: ProtoInnovations, LLC NAME: Massachusetts Institue of Technology
STREET: 5453 Albemarle Avenue STREET: 77 Massachusetts Avenue
CITY: Pittsburgh CITY: Cambridge
STATE/ZIP: PA  15217 - 1132 STATE/ZIP: MA  02139 - 4301
PHONE: (412) 916-8807 PHONE: (617) 252-1490

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139 - 4310
(617) 452-3262

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
5453 Albemarle Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15217 - 1132
(412) 916-8807

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Information Technologies for Intelligent and Adaptive Space Robotics is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
ProtoInnovations, LLC (PI) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have formed a partnership to research, develop, and experimentally test a suite of methods for significantly improving the safety, mean travel speed, and rough-terrain access of wheeled planetary exploration rovers. We will accomplish this by developing algorithms for all-terrain adaptive locomotion. This will include algorithms for:
1. Traction control, which will intelligently govern individual wheel commands as a function of terrain conditions in order to measurably decrease wheel slip; and,
2. Embedding detection, which monitors the rover's inertial signature to rapidly and robustly detect instances of incipient embedding in soft, low bearing-strength regolith.
Our aim is to provide a novel approach for enhancing rover traction and reducing slip that will not only allow rovers to autonomously detect and avoid hazardous terrain regions, but also to travel with assured safety on terrain that is steeper and rougher than is currently possible.
The result of this work will be systems that can rove with a reduced risk of catastrophic failure, while simultaneously increasing both the quantity and potential quality of science data products. This latter capability is enabled by the fact that rovers will be able to travel for long durations without requiring lengthy human interventions, and will be able to travel to sites of greater scientific interest (and proportionally greater mobility difficulty) than what is possible today.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed research is expected to lead to greatly enhanced rough-terrain mobility performance of wheeled planetary exploration rovers. During Phase 2 of this work, we will demonstrate our control methods to various individuals at NASA centers, with the aim of identifying potential future missions for transition of this technology. We expect that the 2020 Mars rover mission is an example of a wheeled rover mission that could directly benefit from the algorithms and control methods developed under this STTR project. The PI/MIT team will actively seek post-Phase 2 support to further develop, mature, and integrate our control technology into future NASA missions.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Beyond NASA, there is a large and growing application space for mobile robotic systems in applications such as defense and security, mining and forestry, and infrastructure monitoring and inspection. Many of these systems are tasked with traveling at low speeds through very difficult terrain. The PI/MIT team will aim to transition the technology developed under this project beyond NASA, to dual-use applications in these various sectors.

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.)
Algorithms/Control Software & Systems (see also Autonomous Systems)
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Command & Control
Recovery (see also Autonomous Systems)
Recovery (see also Vehicle Health Management)
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)

Form Generated on 04-23-14 17:37