I was under the impression (when asking this question) that over the past four years that experience by ground operators and programmers had lead to a configuration where the Mars rover Curiosity could do a significant amount of "work" or movement autonomously - meaning not necessarily requiring somewhat-near-real-time comms. link with Earth, where "somewhat-near-real-time" means as fast as the current Earth-Mars separation will allow at the time.
For example, if a plan for a movement by a few meters, or tens of meters is decided, is Curiosity able to do it? Must the path be pre-planned and validated by people on Earth, or is Curiosity able to plan a path - including obstacle avoidance, and execute it.
What about drilling and sample collection, or laser ablation and chemical analysis - once a plan is in place, can these run autonomously without comms. for some period of time?
If so, I'm also interested in how commonly these are actually done autonomously, but the my main question is if it has been shown to have this capability.