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Increasing the Performance of Autonomous Planetary Robots Through Environmental Manipulations

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX16CA42P
Agency Tracking Number: 150311
Amount: $124,658.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: T11.01
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2016
Award Year: 2016
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2016-06-10
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2017-06-09
Small Business Information
5453 Albemarle Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15217-1132
United States
DUNS: 000000000
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Principal Investigator
 (412) 268-5529
Business Contact
 Dimitrios Apostolopo
Title: Business Official
Phone: (412) 916-8807
Research Institution
 Carnegie Mellon University
 Robert Kearns
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

 (412) 268-5837
 Domestic Nonprofit Research Organization

ProtoInnovations, LLC and Carnegie Mellon University propose to research, design, develop, and test software tools and hardware that will greatly increase the performance of planetary robots by manipulating the environment around them. We are specifically interested in developing new planning algorithms and non-prehensile manipulation techniques and simple robotic tools that will allow rovers to alter the environment around them for the purposes of creating feasible navigation routes, accessing interesting scientific targets, or doing some basic terraforming.

A robot could be endowed with dedicated hardware to enable this terrain manipulation. Six or seven degree-of-freedom manipulator arms are commonly used for moving objects around a robot's environment. However adding such specialized, high torque, environmentally-toughened hardware adds significant costs in terms of fabrication, flight weight, and power requirements. Instead, in this proposal we will take advantage of the existing affordances of the platform in order to rearrange the terrain with no, or little, added hardware.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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