Towards a Turn-key Software Suite for Controlling Complex Remote Robots using English-language Electronic Procedures

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC18C0220
Agency Tracking Number: 170156
Amount: $746,305.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: T4
Solicitation Number: STTR_17_P2
Solicitation Year: 2017
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2018-09-27
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-09-26
Small Business Information
100 North East Loop 410, Suite 520, San Antonio, TX, 78216-4727
DUNS: 193786014
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Stephen Hart
 (281) 678-4194
Business Contact
 Stephen Hart
Phone: (281) 678-4194
Research Institution
 Southwest Research Institute
 6220 Culebra Road
San Antonio, TX, 78238-5166
 Federally funded R&D center (FFRDC)

There is a disconnect between the mission operation languages used by various NASA robots and by flight controllers or crew members. This disconnect unduly burdens mission operators, as it requires the involvement of expert robot programmers to define each activity. To eliminate this burden, we propose that robots in space (whether autonomous or remotely commanded by humans) should be commanded using verified, human-readable procedures. Such an approach will allow NASA to seamlessly allocate new robotic capabilities and resources to existing space activities, and will facilitate the cooperation of humans and their robot assistants when performing joint activities.

In Phase I of this work, progress towards this goal was demonstrated by combining two previously disparate software suites. TRACLabs' Procedure IDE for authoring and running electronic procedures and our CRAFTSMAN mobile manipulation planning and control software have been developed over the past few years in conjunction with NASA engineers and researchers on various projects. The integration of these two research streams in this PHARAOH (Procedure-Handling Architecture for Robots And/Or Humans) system has demonstrated the promise of our approach, while also highlighting deficiencies in the current electronic procedure software as it pertains to command and control of complicated remote robots. In Phase II, we will build upon lessons learned to replace, improve, and validate various architectural, operational, and computational components of the Phase I prototype. The specific aim of this Phase II is to achieve a TRL-6 software package with suitable software and hardware validations to ensure that TRL-7 performance could be achieved within a 5 year time frame, where we envision non-robotics flight controllers using PHARAOH to task remote robotic assets by using English-language procedures that automatically map directly to robot capabilities on the back-end.

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

US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government