Turtle Rover could be your own "land drone"
If you've ever wanted to own a Mars rover, this is likely the closest you're going to come. Created by a team from Poland's Wroclaw University of Technology, which has designed actual Mars rover prototypes, the Turtle Rover is … well, it's an Earth rover. It's also currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign.
The Turtle features a waterproof aluminum body, a front-facing HD camera, a Raspberry Pi micro-controller, and four individually-suspended knobby-tired wheels – each one of those wheels is powered by its own hub motor. The rover also comes with a top-mounted robotic gripper arm, although its open-source design allows other third-party accessories (such as GoPros or lights) to be added as desired.
It doesn't go as fast as something like a high-end radio-controlled dune buggy, although the up side of that is its battery life – it's claimed to be able to run for up to four hours on one 2-hour charge of its lithium-ion battery.
The rover is controlled by an app on the user's smartphone or tablet, communicating via Wi-Fi for a distance of up to 200 meters (656 ft). That app not only allows the user to see through the rover's camera and steer it accordingly, but it also lets them shoot stills and video, or operate appendages such as its arm.
The vehicle itself is small but not tiny, weighing about 8 kg (17 lb) and able to carry an additional 5 kg (11 lb) on its upper platform.
Should you be interested in getting one, a pledge of €1,547 (about US$1,826) will be required. Delivery is estimated for next June, assuming it reaches production. Its planned retail price is €1,997 ($2,357).
It can be seen in action, in the following pitch video.
Sources: Turtle Rover, Kickstarter
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Buy a good pair of waterproof hiking boots and a decent camera and explore without staring into another screen...