Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Terrain perception for autonomous navigation of UGVs and UAVs

Larry Matthies, Ph.D.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Friday, April 2, 2004
Pacific Forum – Noon


JPL conducts research on autonomous navigation of unmanned ground and air vehicles (UGVs and UAVs) under funding from NASA, DARPA, and the U.S. Army. For NASA, this research includes autonomous obstacles avoidance and localization for Mars rovers, autonomous safe and precise landing for Mars and other bodies, and automated orbit estimation by mapping and recognizing craters on planetary surfaces. For DARPA and the Army, our work includes terrain perception for relatively large UGVs in off-road navigation and for small, man-portable UGVs for urban reconnaissance scenarios. Areas of perception work include real-time passive range imaging and motion estimation using stereo vision and optical flow, multi-spectral terrain classification, obstacle avoidance, autonomous stair climbing, and other capabilities. An overview of these activities, emphasizing the perception aspects of the research, will be presented.