USA flag logo/image

An Official Website of the United States Government

Reliable Autonomous Surface Mobility (RASM) in Support of Human Exploration

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2010 / STTR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
ProtoInnovations, LLC
5453 Albemarle Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15217-1132
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2010
Title: Reliable Autonomous Surface Mobility (RASM) in Support of Human Exploration
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNX10CF52P
Award Amount: $99,920.00


ProtoInnovations, LLC and Carnegie Mellon University have formed a partnership to commercially develop rover-autonomy technologies into Reliable Autonomous Surface Mobility (RASM). Our aim is to provide safe and reliable means for lunar rovers to travel at substantial speeds and operate in proximity to astronauts and other vehicles. Our unique partnership brings together state-of-art technologies for autonomous rover navigation with experience in delivering and supporting mobility systems for NASA. The RASM project will create an autonomy framework that is capable of supporting off-road vehicle speeds beyond 3 m/s with planetary-relevant constraints including a lack of infrastructure (such as GPS) and limited communication and computing resources. Our RASM framework is based on environment modeling, obstacle avoidance, path planning, and localization algorithms developed by Carnegie Mellon and proven by hundreds of kilometers of traverse in planetary analog landscapes on Earth. On the RASM project we will mature and package these algorithms in a reliable and portable software architecture that supports a variety of vehicle platforms, sensors, and middleware alternatives. Unique to RASM will be a failure-modes analysis of the autonomy system to model and mitigate hazards posed by operating alongside astronauts and lunar vehicles. Mission constraints and operating scenarios will vary broadly, so RASM will be adaptable. We will develop abstraction layers to enable portability across various vehicle chassis configurations, perception sensors, localization sensors, and communications protocols. In Phase 1 of our project, we will demonstrate the ease with which RASM can be ported by implementing it on a rover such as the Lunar All-Terrain Utility Vehicle (LATUV) developed by ProtoInnovations. Our goal is to advance autonomy-system TRL from 4 to 6 on the contract.

Principal Investigator:

David S. Wettergreen
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Dimi Apostolopoulos
Business Official
Small Business Information at Submission:

ProtoInnovations, LLC
1908 Shaw Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15217

EIN/Tax ID: 251912230
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Research Institution Information:
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-
Contact Phone: 4122685421