Anytime Summarization for Remote Robot Operations

Period of Performance: 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Traclabs, Inc.
100 North East Loop 410, Suite 520
San Antonio, TX 78216
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Brigham Young University
A-285 ASB
Provo, UT 84602
Institution POC


NASA plans to use intelligent planetary rovers to improve the productivity and safety of human explorers. A key challenge in using robots to support human exploration is orienting remote personnel about robot operations as latency and communication constraints make real-time monitoring impractical. Communication bandwidth will be limited, making it essential to downlink important information early. Periods with no communication will require ground operations to catch up quickly when communication resumes. Consequently ground operators can no longer rely on eyes-on monitoring to orient them about robot performance and progress on mission objectives. Summary measures are needed to identify what progress the robot has made and, when progress is impeded, to indicate what went wrong. Trending measures also are needed that determine how well robotic assets are being utilized and identify opportunities to improve robot productivity. TRACLabs and Brigham Young University propose to develop software for anytime summarization that orients remote personnel quickly about rover operations performed without continuous, high bandwidth communication. An anytime summary will characterize progress on robot operations using whatever data has been downlinked when the summary request is made. It will compute performance measures that give an overview of robot mission success and the efficiency and effectiveness of robot operations, and will provide a launch point for interactive exploration of performance data. Because the quality of an anytime summary is affected by the latency in data availability for ground processing, we will investigate what summary information should be pre-computed by the robot, and the preferred order in which information should be downlinked. During Phase I we will design and prototype software for anytime summarization. We will evaluate this design for use in rover operations using NASA IRG robots. Phase I will produce a design for implementation in Phase II.