Dante II: Technical Description, Results, and Lessons Learned

John E. Bares, David S. Wettergreen
1999 The international journal of robotics research  
Dante II is a unique walking robot that provides important insight into high-mobility robotic locomotion and remote robotic exploration. Dante II's uniqueness stems from its combined legged and rappelling mobility system, its scanning-laser rangefinder, and its multilevel control scheme. In 1994 Dante II was deployed and successfully tested in a remote Alaskan volcano, as a demonstration of the fieldworthiness of these technologies. For more than five days the robot explored alone in the
more » ... crater using a combination of supervised autonomous control and teleoperated control. Human operators were located 120 km distant during the mission. This article first describes in detail the robot, support systems, control techniques, and user interfaces. We then describe results from the battery of field tests leading up to and including the volcanic mission. Finally, we put forth important lessons which comprise the legacy of this project. We show that framewalkers are appropriate for rappelling in severe terrain, though tether systems have limitations. We also discuss the importance of future "autonomous" systems to realize when they require human support rather than relying on humans for constant oversight.
doi:10.1177/02783649922066475 fatcat:sj5b5x2q4ffv7b2eh5aeuywolq