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Multi-Platform, Scalable, and Modular Rover Flight Software Control Algorithms and Architectures for Autonomous ISRU Excavation, Transportation, and Deposition for Lunar Operations

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC22CA229
Agency Tracking Number: 22104
Amount: $4,551,735.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: Z5
Solicitation Number: SEQ_22_P2S_C1
Solicitation Year: 2022
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-08-12
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-08-11
Small Business Information
100 43rd Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201-3100
United States
DUNS: 621287403
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Samuel Chandler
 (774) 258-2047
Business Contact
 Dimitrios Apostolopoulos
Phone: (412) 916-8807
Research Institution

ProtoInnovations, LLC proposes to continue the advancement and maturation of the Rover-Based Non-Prehensile Manipulation for Improved Mobility, Scientific Exploration and Terrain Shaping on Planetary Surfaces (RBNPM, NASA Phase II SBIR Contract #80NSSC19C0215) software control architecture and algorithms to enable robotic rovers to perform autonomous or semi-autonomous excavating, transporting, and depositing of lunar regolith during In-situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) missions.nbsp;The central idea of this work is that robots can accomplish a multitude of terrain-altering tasks by intelligently sequencing active driving, steering motions, and/or dedicated tools for lunar surface operations.nbsp;The RBNPM software architecture,nbsp;is behavior-based and driven by multiple hierarchical layered primitives. Primitives are independent, modular, and generalizable, open-loop or closed-loop controllers that represent the smallest control element/module that can be implemented to produce a recognizable behavior or functionality. The overarching taxonomy of primitives exists at four levels of the architecture; mission, actions, operations, and signals.nbsp;This new technology can amplify the performance of future NASA lunar surface systems for ISRU and construction operations in many ways. First, the modularity and configurability of the software architecture enables the primitives and software to be used on multiple platforms of different robotic configurations. This unique feature will allow for more standardization for future surface systems and provide new capability in space robotics software for NASA as well as for commercial space companies. Second, the architecture is controller-centric which enables real-time flexibility to achieve multiple operational objectives for increased safety, efficiency, or capability that can be selected and configured autonomously or by teleoperators, ideal for complex missions on the lunar surface.

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

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