1997-07-01

An Innovative High Bandwidth Communication System for Mobile Robots 972488

This paper discusses the problem of high bandwidth communication from robots moving in natural terrain, a typical scenario for planetary exploration. Directional antennas, while suitable for high bandwidth communication, present technical issues when communications are to and from a vehicle moving over unpredictable terrain. A highly capable antenna pointing mechanism is required to keep the transmitter antenna pointed towards the receiver in the presence of motion disturbances. Moreover, mobile robots are limited in mass and power making the problem more challenging.A case study of a high bandwidth communication system for mobile robot NOMAD is presented. NOMAD is a lunar-analog robot designed to traverse 200 km of rough terrain in the Atacama Desert of Chile in the summer of 1997. Using a high bandwidth link, the moving robot will continuously return high quality images to a distant control station.

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