ProtoInnovations, LLC proposes to continue applied research and development, mature, and validate dynamically reconfigurable software and mobility architectures (DRSOMA) for robotic planetary rovers to maximize locomotion capabilities inherent on current rover designs as well as foster the creation of new rover designs that can switch between locally optimal locomotion controllers to enable globally optimal mobility in uncharacterized environments. DRSOMA’s architecture allows for a variety of intelligent locomotion controls to be exercised. Transition from control mode to control mode happens in real-time and is seamless. A rover equipped with DRSOMA can switch control modes on the fly, allowing it to adapt more effectively and efficiently to various terrain and environmental conditions. In addition, DRSOMA’s architecture facilities multiple perception and cognition software solutions. A DRSOMA-equipped rover can accommodate multiple sensors and sensing modalities, and a variety of perception algorithms to process and interpret sensor data. Lastly, DRSOMA accommodates and can effectively control rovers that change their electromechanical configuration on the fly, for example rovers with shape-changing wheels, semi-active and active suspensions, etc.
DRSOMA will aid rover-based NASA missions for space science and exploration on the lunar surface during the Artemis (Moon to Mars) Campaign, and other future missions to the Moon and Mars. The Artemis program in particular requires sustainable surface operations that require robots, rovers, and people to all work together. DRSOMA will enable such robotic systems to operate well in more than one mode of locomotion and have real-time control adaptability to benefit ISRU, construction, scientific exploration, and other space science endeavors.
The DRSOMA and it underlying software modules could be applicable in wide range of robotic vehicles in transportation, construction, mining, and logistics to name a few. Such vehicles would benefit from software and controls for efficient, safe, and situation-responsive mobility and adaptability to ever-changing terrain conditions and forceful interactions with the operational environment.