Adaptive and intelligent navigation of autonomous planetary rovers – a survey

Wong, Cuebong and Yang, Erfu and Yan, Xiu-Tian and Gu, Dongbing (2017) Adaptive and intelligent navigation of autonomous planetary rovers – a survey. In: The 11th NASA/ESA Conference on Adaptive Hardware and Systems, 2017-07-24 - 2017-07-27, the California Institute of Technology. (

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The application of robotics and autonomous systems in space has increased dramatically. The ongoing Mars rover mission involving the Curiosity rover, along with the success of its predecessors, is a key milestone that showcases the existing capabilities of robotic technology. Nevertheless, there has still been a heavy reliance on human tele-operators to drive these systems. Reducing the reliance on human experts for navigational tasks on Mars remains a major challenge due to the harsh and complex nature of the Martian terrains. The development of a truly autonomous rover system with the capability to be effectively navigated in such environments requires intelligent and adaptive methods fitting for a system with limited resources. This paper surveys a representative selection of work applicable to autonomous planetary rover navigation, discussing some ongoing challenges and promising future research directions from the perspectives of the authors.