The LMRs' Role
The Chain of Command
A family system leads to the concept of a chain of command that the LMRs follow.
Astronauts/Base Computer Control
The astronauts and the base computer will have the option of controlling the LMRs at any level. They can control the "families" all together, as separate "families," or as individual small and medium LMRs. The astronauts will be capable of remotely reprogramming the LMRs to fulfill new, customized, objectives. Through the base computer, the LMR families can be controlled from Earth. Such a system would release the limitations imposed on the astronauts of having too many individual LMRs to worry about without adversely affecting the fine control over the small LMRs available to the astronauts.
The medium LMRs will have restricted control over the small LMRs. Once the medium LMR recieves a human command that relates to the "family" as a whole, the medium LMR will have control rights to delegate the command onto the small LMRs. This will be controlled by an autonomous decision making program. The medium LMR will be in charge of fulfilling any navigation orders sent from the base and be capable of assiting the small LMRs by using its own built in sensors.
The medium LMR will not be in charge of sample retrieval. Although an automated system could be used to identify potentially interesting samples, only a direct order from the astronauts could allow a medium LMR to retrieve a sample from the martian terrain.
The small LMRs will be in charge of their own short range obstacle-avoidance decision making. Their long range navigational systems will be partially supported and run by the medium LMR which will be aware of the entire "family" of small LMRs and their positions with respect to each other.Continue
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