Rapid Robotic System Design Iteration

Design Validation of NASA's K10 Rovers

Rapid design iteration yields faster time to flight and reduced development costs


Energid has created a comprehensive software infrastructure for rapid validation of robotic designs. The software supports push-button validation through existing commercial design software, such as SolidWorks. After validation is invoked through the design-tool GUI, the robot design transfers to Energid’s Actin for kinematic and dynamic analysis. Actin allows interactive or programmatic placement of any number of end effectors on any number of mobile or fixed-base mechanisms, each with any number of kinematic links and branches.

Energid’s validation software provides dynamic simulation, including articulated-body and impact dynamics. The software allows link descriptions, end-effector descriptions, control algorithms, and the environment to be arbitrarily exchangeable as modules. Extensible Markup Language (XML) is used for configuration, data transfer, and exchange.

This software was applied by NASA Ames Research Center to facilitate field tests with a digital simulation of their K10 rovers. This new proxy simulation serves as a replacement for robot communications, actuation, control systems, power systems, sensors, environmental interactions, and behavior. It incorporates physics-based modeling of wheel-terrain interaction and obstacle collisions. The software is generic and applicable to all of NASA’s prominent mobile robotic vehicles.

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