The Discount Mars Rover Project

STEP 13: SOFTWARE SIMULATION RUN

Getting started

Make sure that your computer has already established a WIFI connection with the network “marsrover”. Also make sure that the Raspberry Pi is up and running and that "roverMain.py" got startet. Then use the button CONNECT to connect with the rover. After 7 seconds you will get the first status information from the rover and the rover status display will become green. After another few seconds you will see the very first map sent from the rover. Even a few seconds later the test image shall arive.

Reading the map

The map displayed in the left panel is information which is to 100% coming from the rover. The rover sends it's current position and heading (relative to the starting point), the position is displayed as blue dot. The green dots are waypoints for the rover which have beed sent with this command software. The black dots are the current positions the rover has sent so far. The red rectangles are obstacles detected by the rovers sensors.

Reading the rover status panel

"PoX:" stand for the estimated position the rover thinks it currently is. The position is relative to starting point of the rover and is given in cm. Same for "PoY:".
SP indicates the current speed in percentage, 100% is full speed, at 0% the rover is standing still.
TA stands for "turn angle" and indicates the current heading in degrees, relative to the starting position. A positive value indicates right turns, a negative value indicatesleft turns.
DR UP / DR DWN indicates if the drill is currently in a stored position (UP) or lowered to the soil (DOWN).
CaT is the "camera turn angle", the angle of the camera relative to the rover. Positive values mean right turns, negative values stand for left turns.
CaP is the "camera pitch angle" and indicates if the camera in in hozizontal poistion (relative to the rover) or pointing down (CaP is negative) or pointing up.

Remote controlling the rover

Please keep in mind that it is impossible to remote control a rover on the surface of Mars due to the long roundtrip signal times up to half an hour or more. But for develeopment tasks it is very helpful to have a change to send remote control command to the rover. Use the buttons to directly control the movement of the rover.

The values DRILL OFFSET X and Y can be used to guide the drill to a position on the soil relative to the standard position. A positive X value indicates a position in front of the standard position, a negative value behind the standard position. Positive Y means to the right, negative to the left of the standard position.

Semi- Autonomous Operation

Semi- autonomous operation simulation the situation wit a real mars rover: The operator (that's you) sends the rover a waypoint the rover shall try to reach. Then the rover has to find out how to get there without running in obstacles or falling down steep cliffs or gettig stucked in sand dunes. To toggle autonomous operation you have to press the button AUTONOMOUS ON / OFF. In the tab view "Autonomous Drive" you can insert the coordinates of the waypoint (X and Y are in cm) and a name for the waypoint.

Camera Operations

The camera will be mounted on a little mast to gain better overview from a slightly higher position. During autonomous mode the camera motion will follow an automated pattern. However, in remote control mode and for testing purposes the operator can also control the camera manually. Just enter the wanted angle into the textbox in the middle of the panel and the press on button to select the direction.