• A novel low-cost autonomous 3D LIDAR system

      Dial, Ryker L.; Bogosyan, Seta; Hatfield, Michael; Lawlor, Orion (2018-05)
      To aid in humanity's efforts to colonize alien worlds, NASA's Robotic Mining Competition pits universities against one another to design autonomous mining robots that can extract the materials necessary for producing oxygen, water, fuel, and infrastructure. To mine autonomously on the uneven terrain, the robot must be able to produce a 3D map of its surroundings and navigate around obstacles. However, sensors that can be used for 3D mapping are typically expensive, have high computational requirements, and/or are designed primarily for indoor use. This thesis describes the creation of a novel low-cost 3D mapping system utilizing a pair of rotating LIDAR sensors, attached to a mobile testing platform. Also, the use of this system for 3D obstacle detection and navigation is shown. Finally, the use of deep learning to improve the scanning efficiency of the sensors is investigated.