Using a Rover's Active Suspension System as a 2-Axis Solar Tracker Mechanism

Georges Labrèche, Florian Cordes

In: 15th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS '20). International Symposium on Systems, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS-2020) October 19-23 Online-Conference 10/2020.


After successful completion of two 4-week field deployments in Utah (2016) and Morocco (2018), the SherpaTT rover is being prepared for further autonomous long-distance traverses in terrain akin to the Martian environment. However, it features a fueled power generator which cannot be employed in extraterrestrial scenarios. As the rover is meant to approach a higher technology readiness level, a photovoltaic power subsystem is proposed to guide future design iterations. This paper presents the solar array sizing, design, and integration processes considered for two Martian mission sites: Iani Chaos at 2°S and Ismenius Cavus at 34°N. An alternative use case for the active suspension system is presented so that the proposed solar arrays may be inclined and oriented into power generating configurations that are more favorable than those achieved with passive suspension rovers. In the proposed scenarios, active solar cell orientation results in traverse gains of up to 34% and 25% for clear days at Iani Chaos and Ismenius Cavus, respectively.


20200922_i-SAIRAS2020_Labreche_Cordes_final.pdf (pdf, 4 MB )

Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence