Skip Navigation

Flight Projects

MER Interfaces

RSVP 3D graphical display of arm motion sequence.

RSVP 3D graphical display of arm motion sequence.

Point of Contact: Jeng Yen

In all systems that contain interactions between humans and machines, the element that defines the quality of that interaction is the human/machine interface, also known as the user interface. A graphical user interface (GUI) can make the human interaction more engaging and intuitive, constrain user inputs to valid ranges and units, supply tabular and plot-based output where needed, and provide users with data from sensors on the robots that are needed for control.

JPL Robotics has created a number of very successful user interfaces that have been tuned to the robotic systems being controlled. These robots have ranged from multi-arm manipulators for microgravity deployment or terrestrial surgical applications, to legged prototype-rovers for rough terrains, to multi-wheeled rovers including flight systems such as the Mars Pathfinder Sojourner Rover, the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER), Spirit and Opportunity, the Phoenix Lander, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, Curiosity, and the current Mars 2020 (M2020) rover and Helicopter, Perseverance and Ingenuity. Current robot-human interface software developed at JPL for the Mars missions are:

RSVP (Robot Sequencing and Visualization Program)

RSVP has been used for all the surface operation in Mars missions since 1997. It is used to create all the command sequences for robotic operation sent to the Mars rovers and landers of all the Mars missions, including MER, MSL, Phoenix, MSL, InSight and M2020.

The RSVP suite of robot-human interfaces consists of the following tools:

  • RoSE (Rover Sequence Editor), which provides efficient GUI support to all command in the mission-command dictionary and also interfaces with the simulation tools for resource computations and sequence validation.
  • HyperDrive provides multiple 3D graphics interfaces to the stereo images and 3D terrain-model data. It is used to plan all rover motions, including driving over the surface of Mars and complex robotic arm motions to place instruments on sites of scientific interests.
  • ArmSketch is a visual sequencing tool, which generates arm sequences by optimizing path and collision avoidance algorithm.
  • MobSketch is a visual sequencing tool which generates drive sequences by expanding pre-defined macros.
  • ROCS (Robotic Operations and Computational Services) is a set of stateless, RESTful API that provides useful computations for rover simulation, planning, and operations. The ROCS suite includes services which calculate inverse kinematics (arm and RSM), time conversions, shadowing, frame transformations, terrain settling, path planning, and terrain classifier.


People on this Project

Jeng Yen