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Development, Control, and Empirical Evaluation of the Six-Legged Robot SpaceClimber Designed for Extraterrestrial Crater Exploration

Sebastian Bartsch
In: KI - Künstliche Intelligenz, German Journal on Artificial Intelligence - Organ des Fachbereiches "Künstliche Intelligenz" der Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (KI), Pages 127-131, Springer Verlag, Heidelberg, 2014.


So far, all mobile robots used in extraterrestrial surface exploration missions were wheel-driven systems. However, even if such a system is equipped with a sophisticated suspension system, the capability to surmount obstacles and to conquer steep inclinations is limited. Also driving on fine-grained soil can become a problem for these kinds of systems. Multi-legged walking systems, in contrast, are equipped with a highly exible locomotor system. Along with appropriate control strategies, it should offer them the capability to securely maneuver in rough and steep environments. Major counter arguments for legged systems are the higher complexity regarding the mechanical design and control as well as the comparatively high power consumption and low payload capacity. Thus, the challenge lies in minimizing these drawbacks and in exploiting the potentials of such systems in order to reach a state of development which allows to consider legged robots for extraterrestrial surface exploration missions.