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Equipping an FPGA-Based Mars Rover With an LN-200 IMUThe Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) currently navigating the surface of Mars are outfitted with an advanced stereovision correlation algorithm which allows them to "see" three-dimensionally and autonomously avoid obstac'les in their path. A bottleneck of this system is that it is computationally intense and requires 3 minutes of processing for every correlated image and path choice. Taking advantage of the optimization and reprogrammability of FPGAs, the Mobility Avionics lab has reduced this process to under a second. The lab is demonstrating the advancement with a prototype rover, complete with an LN-200 inertial measurement unit (IMU), which is a flight spare from MER. The LN-200 is a space-grade, six degrees-of-freedom IMU using three fiber-optic gyroscopes and three silicon accelerometers and no moving parts. It has particular power-sequencing needs and communicates with a specialized serial protocol (SDLC over RS-422), requiring specific hardware and software for proper functionality and interfacing with an FPGA. The process of incorporating the LN-200 into the system is described herein.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Zola, Nicholas J.
(Franklin W. Olin Coll. of Engineering Needham, MA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
August 1, 2005
Publication Information
Publication: Summer Student Research Presentations
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Science And Exploration
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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