G. Paar ,  B. Huber ,  S. Gupta ,  R. Barnes ,  C. Traxler ,  T. Ortner (2017)

Planetary Rover Vision Processing and Visualization: PRoViP and PRo3D

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Global Space Exploration Conference 2017


Three dimensional (3D) vision processing is an essential component of planetary rover mission planning and scientific data analysis. Standard ground vision processing products are digital terrain maps, panoramas, and virtual views of the environment. Such processing is currently developed for the PanCam instrument of ESA’s ExoMars Rover mission by the PanCam 3D Vision Team under JOANNEUM RESEARCH coordination. Camera calibration, quality estimation of the expected results, and the interfaces to other mission elements such as operational planning, rover navigation system, and global Mars mapping are a specific focus of the current work. The processing framework PRoViP establishes a modular toolchain for 3D vision processing from planetary Rover stereo imaging sensors to obtain 3D products such as Digital Terrain Models, Ortho images, 3D meshes, and accuracy maps. Another important processing capability is the fusion of rover and orbiter-based images with the support of multiple missions and sensors. The 3D visualization tool PRo3D builds upon the PRoViP-generated 3D vision products. It allows for interactive scientific analysis and interpretation of 3D vision data products, enabling users to zoom, rotate, and translate the generated 3D outcrop models. Interpretations can be digitized directly onto the 3D surface, and simple measurements of the outcrop and sedimentary features’ dimensions can be taken. Dip and strike is calculated within PRo3D from mapped bedding contacts and fracture traces. Measurements and annotations can be organized according to their geological context in a hierarchical way. PRoViP, PRo3D, and their common interfaces are described along with a representative selection of data products and visualizations stemming from recent field trials and existing Mars rover mission data. After ExoMars’ landing on Mars in 2021 these software tools and the derived processing products will be used by geologists, exobiologists, and mission engineers to decide upon experiments, select scientifically interesting sites for the rover, and determine risks, resource costs, and a priori success probability of vehicle operations: PanCam 3D vision is a key element to ExoMars mission success

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