In some applications, a robot arm has to position instrumentation/payloads accurately relative to an unknown surface. This paper describes an optical sensor system for doing so. The sensor is based on a number of different image processing techniques combined with optical stimulation. More specifically, the system utilizes a camera, floodlight, structured light illumination, terrain relative navigation, camera pose estimation and circle finding. The sensor has been developed for the Planetary Instrument for X-Ray Lithochemistry (PIXL) instrument on NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover. The sensor also has other applications such as exploration of polluted or inaccessible areas or locating a robotic arm relative to an unknown surface. The sensor can aid in placing an instrument relative to the unknown surface with an accuracy of 0.5 mm and maintaining three-dimensional position lock utilizing terrain relative navigation. This paper will describe the sensor design and performance.
- Mars Perseverance Rover
- Robot Vision Systems
- Planetary Instrument for X-Ray Lithochemistry (PIXL)