Development of the six-legged walking and climbing robot SpaceClimber

Sebastian Bartsch; Timo Birnschein; Malte Langosz; Jens Hilljegerdes; Daniel Kuehn; Frank Kirchner

In: Sunjev Singh; Kazuya Yoshida; David Wettergreen (Hrsg.). Journal of Field Robotics, Vol. Volume 29, Issue 3, Special Issue on Space Robotics, No. Part 1, Pages 506-532, Wiley Subscription Services, 6/2012.


In this article, we present SpaceClimber1, a six-legged, bio-inspired, energy-efficient, and adaptable free-climbing robot for mobility in steep gradients. The long-term vision is to provide a system for the purpose of extraterrestrial surface exploration missions paying special attention to mobility in lunar craters in order to retrieve or analyze scientific samples from the interior of these craters. We present an envisaged mission for SpaceClimber and summarize the deriving system requirements. The robot’s morphology determination procedure considering the predefined demands and utilizing a simulation environment in combination with evolutionary optimization strategies is depicted followed by a detailed description of the system’s hardware design. The theoretical concept for the control of such machines with an extensive sensory-motor configuration is explained as well as the implemented locomotion control approach and attempts to optimize the behavior of the robot using machine learning techniques. In addition, the experimental plant which was built for testing and evaluating the performance of the developed system in an environment as realistic as possible will be introduced followed by a description of the performed experiments. Concluding, we summarize the results and experiences and give an outlook on further developments.


Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence