A previous aerobot project at Aberystwyth University focused upon autonomous image-based localisation for a future Mars aerobot mission. The aerobot can be seen here undergoing acceptance trials at the ESA ESTEC Planetary Testbed Facility. Project partners included SciSys Ltd., the University of Leicester and Joanneum Research, Austria.
AU autonomous cooperating aerobot
The still image is from a movie of a flock of aerobots demonstrating formation flying. Each aerobot is autonomous and has a behaviour-based controller. An external Vicon motion tracking system uses a wireless network to let each aerobot know the position of itself and its partners in Cartesian space. When an unexpected visitor entered the room, an air-draft perturbed the aerobots, but their behavioural controllers were able to correct for this disturbance. The project focused upon autonomous cooperant control methods for a terresrial
application, and we are keen to explore this technology for a future Mars multi-aerobot mission. Project partner was SciSys Ltd.
Part of Aberystwyth University’s contribution to PRoViScout will include the development and demonstration of a “tethered aerobot” concept. The aerobot is tethered to a mobile rover platform, and deployed when necessary to acquire area aerial views of the terrain around the rover vehicle. By using multiple images from different viewpoints and different spectral bands, it will be possible to create an area context for the rover both in terms of DEM generation and also a mineralogy overlay to assist in selecting worthwhile science targets.