Coyote III: Development of a Modular and highly Mobile Micro Rover
In Proceedings of the 13th Symposium on Advanced Space Technologies in Robotics and Automation (ASTRA-2015), (ASTRA-2015), Noordwijk, The Netherlands, ESA, May/2015. ESA.
Robotic exploration missions are gaining in importance for the exploration of our solar system. A wide range of different scientific goals have been formulated for future exploration of Moon and Mars. In order to achieve these goals a need arises for robotic systems and mission set-ups with increasing complexity. Within this paper, the development of the Coyote III micro rover platform is presented. The estimated dimensions of the rover are 380 x 994 x 584 mm (h x l x w), gaining a total mass of approximately 12.5 kg. Coyote III is developed within the scope of the project TransTerrA1, which aims to implement a logistics chain based on a variety of various robotic systems. It is proposed to operate as a shuttle system within the logistics chain, cooperating with a primary exploration rover as well as different stationary and portable robotic devices. A mission concept aiming for the Amundsen crater at the lunar south pole was defined and is briefly described within the paper, serving as reference mission for system development and testing. Coyote III represents an enhanced design of the Coyote II rover, which was successfully tested and operated as micro scout rover within the EU FP7 project FASTER. In this paper, a focus is given on the design considerations of Coyote III. Firstly, these are based on the lessons learned from Coyote II trials and secondly, on top-level requirements which are derived from the given reference mission scenario. A system overview of Coyote III is given as well as a description of its subsystems. The rover’s main structure is based on a CFK semimonocoque construction paired with lightweight aluminum frame design. Coyote III is equipped with four direct driven hybrid legged-wheels while a roll joint is introduced at the rear axis, which serves as passive suspension system. As observed on previous rover systems like, e.g., Coyote II, this locomotion systems can provide a high mobility performance on various types of terrain and slopes. The rover's main body contains the on-board data handling and payload data handling system, electrical power supply and communication subsystem. Furthermore, a navigation sensor bench will be attached to the rover containing a laser range finder and camera. Additionally, Coyote III is proposed to be equipped with two electro mechanical interfaces (EMI). These allow connecting different types of tools and/or systems to the rover. For the operation of Coyote III as shuttle rover within a logistics chain, it is envisaged to equip it with a multi-purpose manipulator arm. The manipulator will be docked to one of the EMIs and can handle standardized payload items, cf. Figure 1. The Coyote III rover will be further investigated by means of a terrestrial testbed. While the system bus is implemented, the subsystems concerning the payload and integration into the envisaged logistics chain needs to be finalized and reviewed in terms of coherency to the other systems. Different test campaigns ranging from locomotion performance tests to autonomous cooperative tasks within a multi robot set-up are planned and will be carried out in the future.
Micro Rover, Manipulator, High Mobility, Modularity