Reconfigurable Integrated Multi Robot Exploration System

The aim of the project is the development of core technologies for modular, reconfigurable robotic systems to support the efficient and robust execution of complex tasks in uncooperative and difficult-to-access areas. Besides new methods for autonomy, navigation, and locomotion, the focus is on a highly modular system concept consisting of modules for different functions, i.e., locomotion, energy supply, data recording, autonomy, and navigation which are intended to be compatible with each other and will be linked via a uniform mechatronical interface.

Duration: 01.09.2009 till 31.12.2012
Donee: German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence GmbH
Sponsor: Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology
German Aerospace Center e.V.
Grant number: Sponsored by the Space Agency (DLR Agentur), acting on a mandate from the Federal Government, grant no. 50RA0904.
Partner: ZARM – Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity
Application Field: Space Robotics
Related Projects: Lunares
Reconfigurable Robots for Extraterrestrial Exploration (07.2007- 12.2009)
An Eight-Legged Robot for Hazardous Outdoor-Terrain (01.2001- 12.2005)
A Semi-Autonomous Free-Climbing Robot for the Exploration of Crater Walls and Bottoms (07.2007- 11.2010)

Project details

Sherpa is using its manipulator arm to equip CREX with an additional payload-item (Photo: Florian Cordes, DFKI GmbH)
Robots and scientist in DFKI's artificial crater environment (Photo: Florian Cordes, DFKI GmbH)

Robot Teams for Lunar Exploration

RIMRES (Reconfigurable Integrated Multi-Robot Exploration System) is a joint project of the DFKI Robotics Innovation Center and the ZARM (Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity).

Within this project, a complex demonstration scenario is set up demonstrating a lunar pole exploration. The focus lies on an improved surface mobility which is achieved by employing single robot systems with innovative morphologies and by combining heterogeneous robots into one overall system.

The hybrid wheeled-leg rover SHERPA developed in the RIMRES project offers not only a relatively energy-efficient locomotion in moderately unstructured terrain, but, as a result of the active suspension system, the rover provides increased mobility so as to free itself if getting stuck and to react flexibly to unforeseen circumstances.

The second mobile system in RIMRES is the six-legged walking Scout robot CREX for the exploration of the interior of lunar craters. It is transported by Sherpa to the crater rim, deployed, and starts climbing into the permanently shaded regions of the crater (see video at bottom of page). CREX is based on previous experiences gained in the SpaceClimber project.

Research activities also focus on the modularity of exploration systems: a uniform electromechanical interface serves to combine mobile systems either with each other, or with so-called payload items which, in turn, can also be combined among themselves. The payload items are used to assemble scientific and technological payloads or to enhance the capabilities of the mobile systems. This way, a task-specific reconfiguration of the systems beomes possible.


RIMRES: Sherpa and CREX

Sherpa is using its manipulator to deploy CREX. A possible use-case is the deployment off a landing unit at the beginning of an exploration mission

Sherpa: Stacking camera payload

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

RIMRES: Manipulator

Observation of the docking process by using the manipulator's camera

RIMRES: Systems in a lunar exploration mission

The video shows a possible lunar exploration mission for the RIMRES-system.

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.



Development strategies for multi-robot teams in context of planetary exploration
Wiebke Brinkmann, Leon Cedric Danter, Amrita Suresh, Mehmed Yüksel, Manuel Meder, Frank Kirchner
In 2024 International Conference on Space Robotics, (iSpaRo-2024), 24.6.-27.6.2024, Luxembourg, o. A., Jun/2024.


Design and Experimental Evaluation of a Hybrid Wheeled-Leg Exploration Rover in the Context of Multi-Robot Systems
Florian Cordes
Bremen, Germany, 2018. University of Bremen.


Reconfigurable Integrated Multirobot Exploration System (RIMRES): Heterogeneous Modular Reconfigurable Robots for Space Exploration
Thomas M. Roehr, Florian Cordes, Frank Kirchner
In Journal of Field Robotics, Wiley Periodicals, Inc., volume Special Issue on Space Robotics, Part 2, pages 3-34, Aug/2013.
RIMRES: A project summary
Thomas M. Roehr, Florian Cordes, Frank Kirchner
In Proceedings of ICRA 2013 Planetary Rovers Workshop, (ICRA-2013), 05.5.-10.5.2013, Karlsruhe, o.A., May/2013.


RIMRES: A Modular Reconfigurable Heterogeneous Multi-Robot Exploration System
Florian Cordes, Thomas M. Roehr, Frank Kirchner
In Proceedings of the International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS 2012), (iSAIRAS-2012), 04.9.-06.9.2012, Turin, o.A., Sep/2012.
Development of a Lightweight Manipulator Arm using Heterogeneous Materials and Manufacturing Technologies
Marc Manz, Alexander Dettmann, Jens Hilljegerdes, Frank Kirchner
In Proceedings of the International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS 2012), (iSAIRAS-2012), 04.9.-06.9.2012, Turin, o.A., Sep/2012.


Evolutionary Development of an Optimized Manipulator Arm Morphology for Manipulation and Rover Locomotion
Alexander Dettmann, Malte Langosz, Florian Cordes
In 2011 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, (IEEE-ROBIO-11), 07.12.-11.12.2011, Phuket, IEEE, pages 2567-2573, Dec/2011. ISBN: 978-1-4577-2137-3.
Locomotion Modes for a Hybrid Wheeled-Leg Planetary Rover
Florian Cordes, Alexander Dettmann, Frank Kirchner
In Proceedings of the 2011 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics, (IEEE-ROBIO-11), 07.12.-11.12.2011, Phuket, o.A., pages 2586-2592, Dec/2011. ISBN: 978-1-4577-2137-3.
Adaptive Flexible Wheels for Planetary Exploration
Olaf Krömer, D. Beermann, Florian Cordes, Caroline Lange, Benjamin Littau, Roland Rosta, Marco Scharringhausen, Tim van Zoest, Christian Grimm
In Proceedings ot the 62nd International Astronautical Congress, (IAC-11), 03.10.-07.10.2011, Cape Town, o.A., Oct/2011.
Evaluation of a Power Management System for Heterogeneous Modules in Self-Reconfigurable Multi-Module Systems
Zhuowei Wang, Florian Cordes, Alexander Dettmann, Roman Szczuka
In Proceedings of the 2011 IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, (IROS-11), 24.9.-30.9.2011, San Francisco, CA, o.A., Sep/2011.
Evaluation of a Dust-Resistant Docking Mechanism for Surface Exploration Robots
Wiebke Wenzel, Florian Cordes, Alexander Dettmann, Zhuowei Wang
In Proceedings of the 15th International Conference On Advanced Robotics 2011, (ICAR-11), 20.6.-23.6.2011, Talinn, o.A., pages 495-500, Jun/2011.
Heterogeneous Modules with a Homogeneous Electromechanical Interface in Multi-Module Systems for Space Exploration
Alexander Dettmann, Zhuowei Wang, Wiebke Wenzel, Florian Cordes, Frank Kirchner
In 2011 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, (ICRA-11), 09.5.-13.5.2011, Shanghai, o.A., pages 1964-1969, May/2011.

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last updated 04.01.2024