VEVI: A Virtual Environment Teleoperations Interface for Planetary Exploration
Remotely operating complex robotic mechanisms in unstructured natural environments is difficult at best. When the communications time delay is large, as for a Mars exploration rover operated from Earth, the difficulties become enormous. Conventional approaches, such as rate control of the rover actuators, are too inefficient and risky. The Intelligent Mechanisms Laboratory at the NASA Ames Research Center has developed over the past four years an architecture for operating science exploration robots in the presence of large communications time delays. The operator interface of this system is called the Virtual Environment Vehicle Interface (VEVI), and draws heavily on Virtual Environment (or Virtual Reality) technology. This paper describes the current operational version of VEVI, which we refer to as version 2.0. In this paper we will describe the VEVI design philosophy and implementation, and will describe some past examples of its use in field science exploration missions.