The Advanced Robotic Intelligence System (ARIS) is a software package that can convert any ground vehicle into a highly versatile mobile robotics platform. It provides multiple modes of operation, and is coupled with PRS' Remote Control Station (RCS) software to provide an intuitive operator interface. The RCS interface can be a fixed computer platform, a mobile hardened laptop, or even a tablet or hand-held device.
At its core, ARIS ties hardware to a set of highly modular software components that perform a number of tasks. These tasks can include relaying data back to an operator, motion control and navigation, data logging and analysis, mapping, error and fault detection, video transmission and playback, payload control, and many other functions that can be configured for most applications. In addition to these feature, ARIS offers a multi-level control architecture with multiple modes of operation, while constantly managing a strict hierarchy ensuring that all robots are operated in a safe manner. Close-Range (tethered/bluetooth), medium range line-of-sight (LOS), long range tele-operated, and autonomous modes are all supported.
The close-range control mode is performed directly at the robot with an input device tethered to the platform, while the medium-range mode uses a weak RF signal that will typically limit the operational range to below a few hundred meters. Both modes are useful for loading and unloading the platform onto a trailer, or general operation when humans are in visual proximity to the robot. Optionally, a fully-integrated ROS node or messaging API can be available, allowing researchers and third-party developers the ability to seamlessly integrate with ARIS' low-level control architecture.
With the tele-operation option, ARIS provides long-range control of the robot and its payloads via a dedicated wireless link. Real-time vehicle telemetry, external sensor readings, video, and payload status are relayed back to an operator(s) located far away from the physical platform. The configurable RCS software utilizes selectable video feedback from multiple vantage points to improve an operator's situational awareness and increase mission execution efficiency. Control of the vehicle, and all on-board peripherals, are performed remotely by a human operator, at a safe distance from the robot's operating environment.
The optional autonomy kit utilizes on-board localization and obstacle detection sensors to autonomously, and safely navigate through its environment while performing a variety of tasks. The autonomy built into the system reduce the need for human intervention while performing routine or complex tasks. Using the built-in RCS map and mission editor, an operator can easily create missions, tasks, patrols and define behaviours with minimal training.
The ARIS software suite is currently being used on many different platforms with diverse applications ranging from agriculture to space exploration. It has been used on multiple rovers for the Canadian Space Agency, one of which successfully completed field trials with NASA in Hawaii. It is a mature, feature-rich software package that is continuously enhanced and tested in the most rigorous environments.
PRS is always looking to further enhance the software's capabilities by partnering with hardware manufacturers, sensor developers, or any other external systems' designers to increase the number of hardware platforms it can be integrated with. For a new system, the core of the software stays the same, and only the device interfaces need to be created, making ARIS ideal for new projects requiring quick ramp-up time.
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