By Kalwinder Kaur
Hosted by the graphics giant NVIDIA, the four-day third ‘GPU Technology Conference’ (GTC) concludes with a fabulous event in San Jose.
The Asimov Rover. Credit: Part-Time Scientists
NVIDIA sponsored the German Google Lunar X-PRIZE team ‘Part-Time Scientists’ (PTS). The team members were welcomed to deliver ‘Day 3 Keynote’ presentation on the lunar rover Asimov’s technical status. Scheduled to land in 2014, ‘Azimov’ will be the first autonomously navigated lunar rover. It will be achieved through the joint partnership effort with the German Aerospace Center’s (DLR) Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics. Its technology will form the basis of the unique German competing team’s rover.
Asimov’s autonomous navigation system is a technological revolution. Unlike the early rovers that required constant control from Earth, the latest rovers are autonomous. The technological collaboration between the DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics (RMC) and the PTS led to the development of an autonomous navigation system for a rover, for the first time. It was capable of processing multiple images per second. A stereo camera for Asimov, based on this technology can enable functions like producing a 2.5-D environmental model, site assessment and determining a collision-free path - all in real time and calculation of own motion.
Robert Boehme, the director of PTS team will address the GTC along with Wesley Faler, the chief software developer. The GPUs of the Tesla series will enable calculating the helical trajectory of PTS’ lunar mission.
The $20 M Grand Prize requires the teams to place a robot on the Moon’s surface for a 500 m exploration, followed by transmitting high definition video and images back to Earth. An "Apollo Heritage Bonus Prize" honors imaging artifacts from the Apollo missions.