Field Trials: 

What:
 Autonomous travel with guidance at boundaries of test site
 "Suicidal" instructions sent to test hazard avoidance
Where:
 The Moon Yard
 A carefully constructed area of lunar analog terrain
designed after the Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 landing sites.
 The Slag Heap
 A large area of diverse terrain and topography in Pittsburgh
 The REC

Milestones: 

Planned:
 Onboard computing
 Laser scanner hazard detection
 Stereo with 4 cameras
 50 km traverse in diverse, lunar analog terrain under safeguarded
teleoperation control
Achieved:
 All of the above
 Traverse 43 km under safeguarded teleoperation control
 Traverse 7 km under teleoperation control
 Total of 50 km traversal

Traversal Statistics: 

Traversal Distance at the Moon Yard (km)  13.3 
Traversal Distance at the Slag Heap (km)  17.4 
Traversal Distance at the REC (km)  12.0 
Typical travel speed (cm/s)  50 
Maximum travel speed (cm/s)  70 
 
Reliability: 

Error rates:
Errors per km with stereo vision
(16 failures over 6,700 m) 
2.4 
Errors per km with stereo vision
(36 failures over 42,730 m) 
0.8 

Comparison to 1995: 

Metric  1995  1996 
Difference Factor 
Total travel under safeguarded teleop control (m) 
13,250  42,730  3.2 
Typical continuous travel speed (cm/s) 
15  50  3.3 
Maximum continuous travel speed (cm/s) 
20  70  3.5 
Reliability of safeguarding (errors/km) (est.) 
  0.8  3 

Observations: 

Strengths:
 Effective obstacle avoidance at maximum vehicle speed of 70 cm/s.
 Software system runs indefinitely long: no memory leaks.
Weaknesses:
 Recovery maneuvers after laser scanner induced stop are sometimes risky
 Laser processing is too conservative on slopes
