Adaptive bio-inspired navigation for planetary exploration – Phase I results

By Max Versace | March 14, 2013

Neurala LLC and the CELEST Neuromorphics Lab have been awarded a 2011 National Aeronautics and Space Administration Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program.

Phase I of the project has demonstrated how a virtual Mars rovers and a robotic wheeled platform equipped with a neuromorphic brain can use exclusively passive, potentially unreliable sensors (analogous to animal visual and vestibular systems) to learn the spatial layout of a new environment, and the identity of science targets present in it, while maintaining a sense of position and the ability to return to a charging base when needed.


These capabilities were obtained without relying on a magnetic compass, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), and active sensors. The resulting system can be implemented in a compact, portable hardware to provide mobile sensemaking and navigation capabilities in a small power envelope.

The video below illustrates the result of the Phase I NASA STTR.




The Neuromorphics Lab is highly collaborative with connections across both academia and industry.