Upcoming exploration missions to the Moon demand mobile robotic platforms with the capability to explore farther, longer-term, and, ultimately, FASTER.

Our goal is to study, analyze, develop, and test new approaches and technologies for fast autonomous locomotion, navigation, and motion control over unstructured and dynamic environments. Our research focuses primarily on the following aspects:

  • Understanding the physical phenomena governing the  interaction between wheels and the soils characteristic of the target environments when traveling at high speeds (i.e., over 1 m/s).
  • Modeling dynamic effects induced by soil inertial effects, wheel traveling velocity, or transient operations.
  • Identifying improved approaches to optimize the tractive efficiency of rovers under high-speed conditions.
  • Designing adaptable mechanical systems for improved stability, control, and maneuverability within an ample range of velocities.
High-speed tests performed over two different soils: an olivine-based sand called RMCS14 (above) and a CaCO3-based soil called RMCS13 (below). Credit: Tohoku University/DLR
moon divider

Relevant Publications

This project is a continuation of a research program initiated at Tohoku University's Space Robotics Lab in collaboration with the European Space Agency's (ESA/ESTEC) Automation and Robotics Section and with the support of the Institute of System Dynamics and Control of German Aerospace Center (DLR).

If you are an EPFL student interested in this subject, check our available Semester and Master's Projects for the upcoming semester.