New-look Moon Rover Robot to Land in 2014
Azimov’s autonomous navigation system is a major technological leap.
By Robotics Trends' News Sources - Filed May 24, 2012

The lunar rover 'Asimov' due to land on the Moon in 2014, will be the first autonomously navigated rover on the Moon. It's autonomous navigation system is a major technological leap.

While the Russian Moon rovers Lunokhod 1 and 2 in the early 70s were fully controlled from Earth, today's Mars rovers like NASA's Mars Exploration Rover 'Opportunity', which has been tirelessly exploring the Red Planet since 2004, are autonomous.

However, Opportunity requires nearly three minutes to process a pair of images — a delay that causes it to move at an average speed of just 1 cm/sec or less. New developments by the technology partnership between the DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics and the PTS have created, for the first time, an autonomous navigation system for a rover that has the capacity to process multiple images per second.

The technology boosts a stereo camera that Asimov will use to calculate its own motion, generate a 2.5-dimensional environmental model, evaluate the site and determine a collision-free path — all in real time.

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