The following are descriptions of several projects the control station development team is working on.

Graphical Simulation

Graphical Simulation Package Index

The graphical simulation is a virtual environment which reads the robotic vehicles telemetry data and visually displays it to the screen. This data can come from the vehicle itself, a kinematic or dynamic simulation, or with an override testing program. The Graphical Simulation Package is this group of applications allowing external partners the ability to interface with this toolbox. The code can be downloaded and instructions on use are given.

Graphical User Interface Control System

A Graphical User Interface Control System allows operators to control two of the Space Systems Laboratory vehicles, Ranger and Scamp remotely. This system is a series of interlinked modules which work together to operate the many subsystems of these vehicles.

Robotic Kinematic and Dynamic Simulations

Much can be learn about controlling a robotic vehicle without testing the hardware. A series of mathematical simulations have been developed so that testing can be performed using only software. Dynamic simulations for the underwater vehicles allow new operators to train and 'get a feel' for how a neutral buoyancy vehicle moves. Kinematic simulations for each of the robotic arms let engineer's test out new ideas and control algorithms prior to critical hardware testing. And interaction simulations facilitate operations research to determine the effects of different control station configurations.

NDDS and the Symbol Table Communication

Symbol Table Communications Index

The control station applications use a federated distribution architecture. There are over 50 modules within the control station system. These modules communicate with each other to maintain the appearance of one unified system. This communication must occur over a number of computers across the internet. This design requirement lead to the choice of UDP protocol for the communication system across these modules. This allows for low latency communications, at the cost of reliability in a message getting through. Since most of the messages transferred require high bandwidth, a UDP protocol is advantageous. Over 500 messages are tracked in a symbol table database. Several scripts have been developed to write the bulk of the communication code using this database.