This paper describes the working of the system design for the Mars rover. The rover, developed to compete in the Mars Society's University Rover Challenge 2015, was designed to perform various tasks such as site survey, sample return, equipment servicing, and astronaut assistance in a Mars-like landscape of dry, non-vegetated, rocky terrain. The complete design features a bioinspired eight-wheeled drive mechanism, an integrated robotic arm along with a stereo vision technique for advanced image processing. This paper focuses on the drive mechanism of the rover design. The 8-wheeled rover combines the rocker-bogie mechanism with four rocker wheels and four spider-leg wheels. The spider legs ensure that it can traverse over heights greater than the chassis height, which could be three times as much as the diameter of the wheels. NASA's current rover can only traverse a height twice the diameter of the wheel. Additionally, the wheels are actuator-powered, and hence, the slope of the rover can be adjusted in such a way that it does not topple for a wide range of inclination allowing the rover to traverse over highly rugged terrain. The rover design can be modified for many applications notably the exploration of alien planets, deep sea trench, and other environments where human exploration is almost impossible. This effort to make the rover mechanism more efficient may one day be instrumental in detecting life and many such possibilities, in Mars and other planets.
A. Suresh, Ajithkumar, N., Kalathil, S. T., Simon, A., Unnikrishnan, V. J., Mathew, D. P., Basil, P., Dutt, K., Udupa, G., Hariprasad, C. M., Maya Menon, Balakrishnan, A., Ramachandran, R., Murali, A., and Shankar, B., “An Advanced Spider-Like Rocker-Bogie Suspension System for Mars Exploration Rovers”, Robot Intelligence Technology and Applications 4, Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series, vol. 447. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp. 423-447, 2017.