Expandable Rover for Planetary Applications

Integration study of Sherpa. The manipulator is positioned in a way that positively influences the center of mass for stepping onto the obstacle. Thus the arm is actively supporting locomotion. (Photo: DFKI GmbH)

Technical Details

Size: variable size: in standard pose the robot has a footprint of 240cmx240cm and a ground clearance of approximately 50cm. The height of the manipulation tower is then 120cm. The length of the stretched manipulation arm is 180cm
Weight: approx 200kg
Power supply: Lithum Polymer Batteries at 48.8V
Actuation/ Engine:
Brushless DC motors with customized FPGA based local electronics
Stereo camera and laser range finder to the front,
single camera and laser range finder to the back,
single cameras to both sides.
Customized Force-Torque Sensors for each swing unit.
IMU for orientation measurements
Position, speed, current and temperature sensors for each joint
Number of Degrees of freedom:
30 DOF in total: 4DOF per swing unit + 2DOF per wheel (4 swing units and wheels in total) and 6 DOF manipulation arm

Organisational Details

Team: Team V - Behavior Control & Simulation
Application Field: Space Robotics
Related Software: MARS
Machina Arte Robotum Simulans
An add-on for Blender allowing editing and exporting of robots for the MARS simulation
Robot Construction Kit
This system is not actively used anymore.

System description

Artist impression of Sherpa in within the RIMRES scenario. (Source: DFKI GmbH)

Sherpa is a wheeled rover with an actuated suspension system. This means, that on the one hand the rover can make use of the relatively energy efficient wheeled locomotion, while being on the other hand highly flexible concerning the adaption to various terrains and the possibility to overcome a high range of obstacles.

The manipulation arm is a multipurpose device, apart from the manipulation and assembly tasks that are required in the RIMRES project, it furthermore can be used as a flexible “hazard cam” for a human operator. The manipulator is designed and optimized in a way that allows it to be used for locomotion support as well.


Sherpa: Lifting

Sherpa using its manipulator to support its weight while lifting the two front legs

Sherpa: Stepping over

Sherpa using its manipulator to overcome an obstacle

Sherpa: Stacking camera payload

CREX demonstrating its postural abilities. These are used for docking to Sherpa or in steep crater slopes

Sherpa: Expandable rover for planetary applications

The video shows how Sherpa is embedded in the project RIMRES and gives first impressions on the locomotion capabilities of the system.

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last updated 29.11.2016
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