Published: June 12, 2017

Authors:  Benjamin Mellinkoff, Matthew Spydell, Wendy Bailey, Jack O. Burns

Abstract:  The Global Exploration Roadmap indicates the need for increased human exploration of under-sampled regions of our solar system in order to make new scientific discoveries. The high costs and dangers of sending humans deeper into our solar system necessitates the use of human-robotic partnerships, especially in transitioning from low-Earth orbit to deep-space operations. Low-latency planetary surface exploration is an example of a human-robotic partnership that provides an exciting option for effective, low-cost exploration of our solar system. However, low-latency telerobotic exploration is a new concept for space exploration and needs to be tested for its limits and effectiveness. This paper focuses on a human operator's ability to identify exploration targets in an unfamiliar environment using real-time low-latency telerobotics under various frame rate conditions. This relationship was investigated using a Telerobotic Simulation System (TSS). The frame rates were varied and the order of the exploration tasks were randomized for each operator. The rover operated at peak speeds of one meter per second with a video stream resolution of 640x480 and colorscale of 24 bits. The results from this experiment indicate that 5 frames per second is the minimum necessary frame rate for effective exploration.

Read full paper.