Thanks to the Pioneer’s background as a research ‘bot, it comes equipped with a rich C++ API allowing for easy programmatic access to the microcontroller, via a serial link from the on-board PC. This has given us a great head start getting control software for equipment like the robot arm and motor control working quickly and effectively.
As mentioned in one of the previous posts, we’re using a simple 802.11-based wireless ethernet link between the lander site, the navbot and our Pioneer rover. Our ground control station will consist of a setup of laptops and large screens, allowing us to view the various video streams and telemetry from the rover, as well as controlling its movement, track deployment and arm control. Mobile Robots provide a small suit of control applications designed for use over a wireless link, which we have applied and combined with additional applications to allow us complete control of the rover while it is performing its mission (or at least thats the theory!).
We have tested these application thoroughly and had great success in remotely controlling the rover once out of visual range. So control in the crater shouldn’t be a problem.