Conference paper

LameAlice, a Nanorover for Planetary Exploration

The recent advances in micro-technology made it possible to realize very small autonomous robots. Such mobile micro-robots have many potential applications. Especially in space exploration, where weight and size is a very dominant issue, mobile micro-robots enable new mission concepts with multiple robots working in parallel. This makes the mission highly redundant and allows for simultaneous measurements at various places. These ideas motivated us to design and realize the mobile micro-robot LameAlice that might change future concepts for planetary exploration. LameAlice is a four-wheel robot which is composed of two separate blocks with two wheels each. The two blocks are linked with a joint that has two rotational degrees of freedom, allowing optimal adaptability to rough terrain. The robots length is 11 cm, its width 6 cm and its height 4 cm. The weight of the robot is around 40 g including a CCD camera, an on-board controller, two IR emitters for distance measurement, a radio module and the batteries giving an autonomy of a couple of hours.LameAlice moves at a maximum speed of 1 cm/s and is able to overcomes steps of its own height. The wheels are made of flexible blades radially fixed on the axis and powered by watch motors. The on-board camera with a resolution of 256x256 pixels is used for obstacle avoidance enabling fully autonomous operation. The image can also be transmitted to a host computer for remote inspection.


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