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Through the use of video from the pioneering work being undertaken by the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford, combined with interviews and narration, this clip considers the challenges of placing the Mars Rover, an unmanned robot on a planet without maps and GPS. It introduces and outlines some of the design decisions when programming a robot to make choices based on the inputs and apply logic to generate outputs i.e. choose a route around hazards. An explanation of how sensor information is handed by using ‘If, Then and Else’ logic in a sequence of instructions to make the robot navigate an unfamiliar environment. It also highlights the success of the mission relies on fully testing the programme and the decisions the robot will make before it lands on Mars to ensure that it is able to deal with all eventualities.
This clip is from:
First broadcast:
5 July 2012

Classroom Ideas

This clip could be used as a practical context for sensor-based computer systems. There are opportunities to examine the importance of programming concepts such as selection (if statements) and iteration (loops). There are also opportunities to examine the importance of reliability in computer systems and the thorough testing of computer programs.

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