Design and build of a remotely operated and modular Mars Rover to compete at an international robotics competition
Group MembersTimothy Boivert, Szymon Dworski, Enrique Munoz Romanillos, Timothy Feeney, Shantu D Hasko, Bhagyesh Govilkar
SupervisorsDr Hugh Lewis, Dr Mohamed Torbati
The Pegasus Mars Rover is designed to compete in the international University Rover Challenge at the Mars Desert Research Centre in Utah, USA, where it will perform several of the tasks required in a real Mars mission. The rover can assist astronauts by scavenging nearby terrain; autonomously navigating to a given set of co-ordinates; performing important maintenance on a landing craft; and conducting mobile scientific experiments and analysis to detect any presence of life. This year, in its fourth iteration, the drive system has been improved by designing new wheels with improved grip, which are specialised for the dry, dusty ground of Utah. A traction control system has also been added, enabling the rover to climb steeper obstacles. The software has been significantly upgraded, with the addition of a flagship embedded computer, so that the rover can model its surroundings and respond intelligently; avoiding significant obstacles while autonomously travelling. The rover has a robotic arm with six degrees-of-freedom, which it uses to perform many tasks, from picking up a toolbox to typing on a keyboard. This year, an inverse kinematics system was added, which makes controlling the arm more intuitive, and enables more intricate motion. The electrical system has been regulated, to improve longevity and safety, and the antenna has been upgraded, allowing travel over a larger area. We believe that projects like this will inspire students to become involved in robotics, accelerating the venture into interplanetary exploration.