Range-based Wireless Sensor Network Localization for Planetary Rovers
Sammanfattning: Obstacles faced in planetary surface exploration require innovation in many areas, primarily that of robotics. To be able to study interesting areas that are by current means hard to reach, such as steep slopes, ravines, caves andlava tubes, the surface vehicles of today need to be modified or augmented. Oneaugmentation with such a goal is PHALANX (Projectile Hordes for AdvancedLong-term and Networked eXploration), a prototype system being developed atthe NASA Ames Research Center. PHALANX uses remote deployment of expendablesensor nodes from a lander or rover vehicle. This enables in-situ measurementsin hard-to-reach areas with reduced risk to the rover. The deployed sensornodes are equipped with capabilities to transmit data wirelessly back to therover and to form a network with the rover and other nodes. Knowledge of the location of deployed sensor nodes and the momentary locationof the rover is greatly desired. PHALANX can be of aid in this aspect as well.With the addition of inter-node and rover-to-node range measurements, arange-based network SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) system can beimplemented for the rover to use while it is driving within the network. Theresulting SLAM system in PHALANX shares characteristics with others in the SLAM literature, but with some additions that make it unique. One crucial additionis that the rover itself deploys the nodes. Another is the ability for therover to more accurately localize deployed nodes by external sensing, such asby utilizing the rover cameras. In this thesis, the SLAM of PHALANX is studied by means of computer simulation.The simulation software is created using real mission values and valuesresulting from testing of the PHALANX prototype hardware. An overview of issuesthat a SLAM solution has to face as present in the literature is given in thecontext of the PHALANX SLAM system, such as poor connectivity, and highlycollinear placements of nodes. The system performance and sensitivities arethen investigated for the described issues, using predicted typical PHALANXapplication scenarios. The results are presented as errors in estimated positions of the sensor nodesand in the estimated position of the rover. I find that there are relativesensitivities to the investigated parameters, but that in general SLAM inPHALANX is fairly insensitive. This gives mission planners and operatorsgreater flexibility to prioritize other aspects important to the mission athand. The simulation software developed in this thesis work also has thepotential to be expanded on as a tool for mission planners to prepare forspecific mission scenarios using PHALANX.
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