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Multi-Robot Systems for Subsurface Planetary Exploration

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2012 / STTR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Astrobotic Technology, Inc.
PA Pittsburgh, PA 15222-4613
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2012
Title: Multi-Robot Systems for Subsurface Planetary Exploration
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNX12CG30P
Award Amount: $124,780.00


The proposed innovation is a heterogeneous multi-robot team developed as a platform for effective subsurface planetary exploration. State-of-art robotic exploration is based on single-robot systems with human controllers augmented by limited automation. This system requires near-constant communication and a single failure results in the end of the mission. A multi-robot system offers more efficient execution of mission tasks, such as exploration and mapping. The robotic team can re-configure in novel ways to extend range, increase mapping fidelity, or maintain a communication link.Innovative robot configurations will be developed to overcome the challenges of the subsurface environment. These challenges include power in the dark, communication to Earth, and mobility in rocky terrain. The robot team will implement state-of-art software developed at CMU to enable navigation of rough terrain, autonomous collaboration among large multi-robot groups, and sensing and navigation. Since subterranean features provide protection from surface hazards, low-cost electronics may be used to reduce mission costs. The multi-robot system provides:Parallelized exploration of large spaces or tunnel networksAutonomous task generationAutonomous reconfiguration of robot team to achieve a particular taskSingle robot failure does not result in end of mission

Principal Investigator:

Steven A. Huber
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

David Gump
Business Official
Small Business Information at Submission:

Astrobotic Technology, Inc.
PA Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3524

EIN/Tax ID: 262383764
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Research Institution Information:
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3815
Contact: Kim Basile