The paper describes various issues faced by rover in an alien environment and attempts to solve each of them using innovative design modifications. The rover features a bioinspired eight-wheeled drive mechanism, an integrated robotic arm and a stereo vision technique for advanced image processing. The system control, for both the rover as well the robotic arm, is done using microcontrollers and microprocessors such as Arduino, Intel NUC, and Raspberry Pi. Inspired from nature, a reflex mechanism has also been integrated into the rover design to minimize damage, by automated safety reflexes. The arm is so designed to switch between three different end effectors depending upon the task to be performed. The 8-wheeled rover combines the rocker bogie mechanism and four rocker wheels and four spider-leg wheels. The spider-legs ensures that it can traverse over a considerable height greater than the chassis height which could be as much as thrice the diameter of the wheels ,whereas the current NASA`S curiosity
rocker bogie system can only traverse over a height twice the diameter of the wheel. Additionally, as they are actuatorpowered, the slope of the rover can be adjusted in such a way that it does not topple for a wide range of inclination and allows the rover to traverse over highly rugged terrain. It provides a large amount of traction with the ground even in terrains where there is a negative slope or vertical drop of around 1m using a springdamper suspension mechanism whereas the rocker bogie mechanism provides traction only due to its body weight The Rover finds applications in the exploration of other planets, deep sea vents and other hostile environments. It offers a possibility of
integrating numerous features such mineral collection and sampling, landscape mapping, moisture detection etc. Such an effort may even prove to be instrumental in detection and study of biological activity in worlds other than ours.
N. Aswath S, ,, Kalathil, S. T., Simon, A., VJ, U., Mathew, D. P., Basil, P., Dutt, K., Tilak, C. Krishna, Suresh, A., Shankar, B., and Udupa, G., “Design and Development of an Intelligent Rover for Mars Exploration”, in The 18th Annual International Mars Society Convention, Washington DC,USA, 2016.