Adaptive Bio-inspired Navigation for Planetary Exploration

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX13CL63C
Agency Tracking Number: 110112
Amount: $949,985.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2013
Solicitation Year: 2011
Solicitation Topic Code: T8.03
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
846 East 3rd St, Boston, MA, 02217-2359
DUNS: 808402049
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Anatoly Gorshechnikov
 Principal Investigator
 (617) 353-8771
 anatoli@bu.edu
Business Contact
 Sean Lorenz
Title: Business Official
Phone: (617) 256-0026
Email: lorenz@neurala.com
Research Institution
 Trustees of Boston University
 NOT Available
 881 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA, 02215-1300
 () -
 Domestic nonprofit research organization
Abstract
Exploration of planetary environments with current robotic technologies relies on human control and power-hungry active sensors to perform even the most elementary low-level functions. Ideally, a robot would be able to autonomously explore novel environments, memorize locations of obstacles or objects, learn about objects, build and update an environment map, and return to a safe location. All of these tasks constitute typical activities efficiently performed by animals on a daily basis. The primary objective of the proposed research is to develop a biologically-inspired neuromorphic application that will translate the above-mentioned functionalities into an autonomous robot or unmanned aerial system (UAS). The Phase I effort implemented a neuromorphic system capable of exploring an unknown environment, avoiding obstacles, and returning to base for refuel/recharge without the use of a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). This system was successfully tested in a Mars-like virtual environment and a simple robot. Leveraging Phase I results, the Phase II effort will develop visual processing based on passive sensors in order to find, identify, localize and interact with objects and use this information to enhance navigation capabilities. Neurala's neuromorphic application will also allow for human guidance through an intuitive user interface. Low-power hardware will be evaluated to facilitate real-time performance in robots and unmanned platforms.

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

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