LPL Colloquium: Professor Wolfgang Fink

Multi-Tier Autonomous Robotic Exploration of Planetary Surfaces and Subsurfaces

Professor Wolfgang Fink
Inaugural Edward & Maria Keonjian Endowed Chair
College of Engineering, University of Arizona

Multi-Tier Autonomous Robotic Exploration of Planetary Surfaces and Subsurfaces

Autonomous robotic reconnaissance missions are called for in extreme environments, as well as in potentially hazardous or inaccessible operational areas on planetary surfaces and subsurfaces. Such future missions will necessitate multi-tiered architectures and require increased degrees of operational autonomy, especially when following up on transient events in (near) real time. Operational autonomy encompasses: (1) Automatic characterization of operational areas from different vantages (i.e., spaceborne, airborne, surface, subsurface); (2) automatic sensor deployment and data gathering; (3) automatic feature extraction including anomaly detection and region-of-interest identification; (4) automatic target prediction and prioritization; and (5) subsequent automatic (re-)deployment and navigation of robotic explorers. Prime targets for multi-tiered autonomous robotic reconnaissance missions are: Enceladus, Titan, Europa, Mars, Venus, Io, and the Moon. This talk will report on ongoing research & development efforts that focus on several aspects of an autonomous C4ISR robotic testbed for planetary exploration at the Visual and Autonomous Exploration Systems Research Laboratory, including: robotic explorer development (air, ground, water-based, subsurface); autonomous robotic guidance, navigation & control, including overhead tracking of robotic surface explorers; and autonomous decision making based on sensor-data-fusion, unbiased anomaly detection, and target prioritization for follow-up investigations.

More about Prof. Wolfgang Fink


Tuesday, March 9, 2021 - 3:45pm