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Portable mobile robots, in the size class of 20 kg or less, could be extremely valuable as autonomous reconnaissance platforms in urban hostage situations and disaster relief. We have developed a prototype urban robot on a novel chassis with articulated tracks that enable stair climbing and scrambling over rubble. Autonomous navigation capabilities of the(More)
The Demo III program has as its primary focus the development of autonomous mobility for a small rugged cross country vehicle. Enabling vision based terrain perception technology for classification of scene geometry and material is currently under development at JPL. In this paper we report recent progress on both stereo-based obstacle detection and terrain(More)
Tracked mobile robots in the 20 kg size class are under development for applications in urban reconnaissance. For efficient deployment, it is desirable for teams of robots to be able to automatically execute path following behaviors, with one or more followers tracking the path taken by a leader. The key challenges to enabling such a capability are (1) to(More)
Autonomous off-road navigation through forested areas is particularly challenging when there exists a mixture of densely distributed thin and thick trees. To make progress through a dense forest, the robot must decide which trees it can push over and which trees it must circumvent. This paper describes a stereo-based tree traversability algorithm(More)
Detecting mud hazards is a significant challenge to unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) autonomous off-road navigation. A military UGV stuck in a mud body during a mission may need to be sacrificed or rescued, both unattractive options. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is currently developing a daytime mud detection capability under the U.S. Army Research Laboratory(More)
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