Milrem Robotics to apply military robotic tech to planetary rovers
ESA has awarded a contract to Milrem Robotics for a series of projects to provide planetary rovers with a higher degree of autonomy by using the capabilities that Milrem developed for its line of modular military robots.
Robots designed for the battlefield and those designed for space exploration may not seem to have much in common, but one thing they do share is that, as their capabilities grow, both require an increasing ability to operate without human intervention. This means that they not only have to be able to navigate and carry out other tasks in order to achieve their goals, they also need the ability to reassess those goals based on changing conditions and replan their mission.
Part of ESA’s Global Exploration Roadmap, Milrem will help to develop an automatic mission planning system for extended lunar missions. This system will be able to draw on remote observation, local imagery and sensor data, and rover resources to assess points of interest based on mission priorities and add or remove points. As the system matures, it can also be used for missions to Mars and near-Earth asteroids over the next two decades.
One future example of this is the European Large Logistic Lander (EL3), which includes a rover for collecting samples for return to Earth. Once this task is completed, the rover will carry out surface exploration under the supervision of Surface Operations teams on Earth as it covers anticipated distances of up to 186 miles (300 km).
"Milrem is very proud to cooperate with ESA in the development of innovative space capabilities," says Professor Mart Noorma, Science and Development Director at Milrem Robotics. "Together with our research partner, Tartu Observatory of the University of Tartu, we can provide the best intelligent navigation solutions for lunar and planetary missions."
Source: Milrem Robotics
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