Speedy Space Robot Tested in Spain

The GMV rover is designed to reach record speeds as it traverses a lunar landscape

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

July 17, 2023

1 Min Read
GMV is designing an autonomous lunar rover that can roam across the moon’s surface

GMV is conducting field tests for lunar robots as part of the space robotics project Robust and Semi-Autonomous Platform for Increased Distances (RAPID).

The project, run by the European Space Agency (ESA), is taking place in Colmenar Viejo, Madrid, chosen for having similar topography to that found on the surface of Mars or the moon.

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Under the RAPID project, GMV is designing an autonomous lunar rover that can roam across the moon’s surface at an average speed of 3.6 feet per second, a new record for autonomous robots operating off-planet.

The rover will reportedly be fitted with an array of cameras to provide visual navigation cues to the guidance, navigation and control (GNC) system.

As plans for space exploration continue to ramp up, demand for faster robots is growing as innovators look to cover greater distances in the search for materials such as water or signs of extraterrestrial life.

“In 50 years of space exploration, the total distance covered by rovers on Mars and the Moon is about 124 miles, an average of 2 miles per year,” the RAPID site said. “Future exploration rovers are expected to travel one order of magnitude more per single day. This requires designing rovers that are intrinsically faster than those built so far…[and] will therefore require radical innovation.”

As well as being fast, GMV has designed the new rover to be capable of planning and navigating its route across a planet’s surface completely autonomously. It has also developed a semi-autonomous GNC subsystem to enable continuous driving.

During the tests in Spain, GMV will be collecting information on the rover’s performance, monitoring its success in performing rock and soil collection tasks.

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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