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30 September 2003 Off-road perception testbed vehicle design and evaluation
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Off-road robotics efforts such as DARPA's PerceptOR program have motivated the development of testbed vehicles capable of sustained operation in a variety of terrain and environments. This paper describes the retrofitting of a minimally-modified ATV chassis into such a testbed which has been used by multiple programs for autonomous mobility development and sensor characterization. Modular mechanical interfaces for sensors and equipment enclosures enabled integration of multiple payload configurations. The electric power subsystem was capable of short-term operation on batteries with refueled generation for continuous operation. Processing subsystems were mounted in sealed, shock-dampened enclosures with heat exchangers for internal cooling to protect against external dust and moisture. The computational architecture was divided into a real-time vehicle control layer and an expandable high level processing and perception layer. The navigation subsystem integrated real time kinematic GPS with a three-axis IMU for accurate vehicle localization and sensor registration. The vehicle software system was based on the MarsScape architecture developed under DARPA's MARS program. Vehicle mobility software capabilities included route planning, waypoint navigation, teleoperation, and obstacle detection and avoidance. The paper describes the vehicle design in detail and summarizes its performance during field testing.
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John R. Spofford, Jennifer B. Herron, David J. Anhalt, Matthew K. Morgenthaler, and Clinton DeHerrera "Off-road perception testbed vehicle design and evaluation", Proc. SPIE 5083, Unmanned Ground Vehicle Technology V, (30 September 2003);

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