Towards autonomous mars rover localization: Operations in 2003 MER mission and new developments for future missions

K. Di, J. Wang, S. He, B. Wu, W. Chen, R. Li, L. H. Matthies, A. B. Howard

Research output: Journal article publicationConference articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


During the 2003 Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission, onboard rover localization has been performed primarily by IMU, wheelodometry, and sun-sensing technologies. In cases where the rover experiences slippage caused by traversing loose soil or steep slopes, particularly in a crater, the onboard visual odometry (VO) technique is applied. A bundle adjustment (BA) method has been performed on Earth to achieve a high-accuracy solution of rover positions by building and adjusting an image network containing all panoramas and traversing images along the entire traverse. An innovative method has been developed to automate cross-site tiepoint selection so that BA-based rover localization can be performed autonomously onboard the rover. Recent results of MER mission operations and field test results are reviewed to demonstrate the effectiveness of this autonomous rover localization technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)957-962
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences - ISPRS Archives
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
Event21st Congress of the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, ISPRS 2008 - Beijing, China
Duration: 3 Jul 200811 Jul 2008


  • Absolute orientation
  • Bundle adjustment
  • Close range photogrammetry
  • Computer vision
  • Matching
  • Navigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Geography, Planning and Development

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