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Press Release Images: Opportunity
19-Jan-2007
 
This color sketch shows a red zone on the right with a scalloped edge facing toward the rover. To the left of the red, or danger, zone is a blue line, or path, moving from the center of the image upward toward the right. At both ends of the line is a blue square that represents the rover at the beginning and the end of the path. A broad green swath, or safe zone, straddles the blue line directly in front of the rover.
Rovers Get New Driving Capability (Animation)

Until recently, NASA's two Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, could figure only one or two steps ahead in planning a path and driving on their own. New software uploaded to the rovers onboard computers now enables them to look ahead and plan a path to a spot 50 meters (164 feet) away, evading obstacles along the way. With this software, called "Field D-Star" path planner and developed at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, the rovers could find their way out of a maze.

Opportunity ran the first test of its smarter autonomous driving capability on the rover's 1,014th sol, or Martian day (Nov. 30, 2006). This animation uses color codings to depict that drive. Red areas are "keep-out" zones established by human rover drivers to prevent Opportunity from getting too close to the edge of "Victoria Crater." White represents unknown areas. Green represents areas that would be safe to traverse based on stereo images taken by the rover's navigation cameras. The moving purple diamond represents Opportunity itself. The blue line is the most efficient path to the desired destination. During this particular 10.5-meter (34-foot) drive, Opportunity's new software was still only a backseat driver, watching what happened and making plans but letting the rest of the system handle the driving. The rover still relied on the one-step-ahead system it had been using before getting the new software. Future tests will put the software directly in the driver's seat. So far, tests have been successful.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CMU
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Rovers Get New Driving Capability (Still Image). Opportunity ran the first test of its smarter autonomous driving capability on the rover's 1,014th sol, or Martian day (Nov. 30, 2006). This still image uses color codings to depict that drive.   Browse Image (36 kB)
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This color orbital view shows the animation, described above, superimposed on a color orbital view of Victoria Crater. To the right of the Opportunity rover are the jagged rim and steep cliffs of the crater wall. To the left is a flat, sandy plain.
Rovers Get New Driving Capability (Site of Test)

Until recently, NASA's two Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, could figure only one or two steps ahead in planning a path and driving on their own. New software uploaded to the rovers onboard computers now enables them to look ahead and plan a path to a spot 50 meters (164 feet) away, evading obstacles along the way. With this software, called "Field D-Star" path planner and developed at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, the rovers could find their way out of a maze.

Opportunity ran the first test of its smarter autonomous driving capability on the rover's 1,014th sol, or Martian day (Nov. 30, 2006). This overhead view shows the site of the test. The rover's software path (inside the blue box) is superimposed upon an image taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, a portion of image PIA08813. Around the rover are the sands of Meridiani Planum; "Victoria Crater" is on the right. Red areas are "keep-out" zones established by human rover drivers to prevent Opportunity from getting too close to the edge of the crater. Green represents areas that would be safe to traverse based on stereo images taken by the rover's navigation cameras. The purple diamond represents Opportunity and the blue diamond the destination. The blue line is the most efficient path to the desired destination.

During this particular 10.5-meter (34-foot) drive, Opportunity's new software was still only a backseat driver, watching what happened and making plans but letting the rest of the system handle the driving. The rover still relied on the one-step-ahead system it had been using before getting the new software. Future tests will put the software directly in the driver's seat. So far, tests have been successful.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona/CMU
Browse Image | Medium Image (238 kB) | Large (2.3 MB)
Full-Res (NASA's Planetary Photojournal)

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