Thursday, August 27, 2015

2015-08-27: Autonomy Incubator Hosts Two NASA Center Directors, Dr. David Bowles and Christopher Scolese

Yesterday, Langley Autonomy Incubator hosted Congressional Staffers as well as GSFC Director Christopher Scolese who was accompanied by LaRC Center Director Dr. David Bowles.

 Goddard Center Director Christopher Scolese (left) and Langley Center Director Dr. David Bowles (right)
discuss the advancements that the Autonomy Incubator has made on the Mars Flyer while Danette Allen listens in.

Following demonstrations in which our team showed obstacle avoidance and trajectory planning through gesture-based controls, Loc Tran and Jim Neilan presented the AI's applied research in visual odometry integrated onto the Mars Flyer prototype vehicle. As with our other ongoing autonomy-related efforts, the goal with the Mars Flyer is for it to take off, navigate, achieve its mission, and land autonomously...all without external data such as GPS.

During the demonstration, Loc Tran moves the Mars Flyer over an image of the surface of Mars as Jim Neilan explains how data-deprived localization is achieved. The AI team plans to integrate this same on-board hardware and autonomy algorithms on other vehicles such as quadrotors, robots, and maybe even underwater vehicles. During their visit, Center Directors Christopher Scolese and Dr. David Bowles discussed possible applications for this technology across other areas of science, space, and aeronautics.

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