Technical Details

Size: The system has variable dimensions; smallest footprint: 1m x 1m, biggest footprint: 2.4m x 2.4m. Height ranges from 0.8m to 1.8m
Weight: Approx 200kg
Power supply:
LiPo primary battery: 44,4 V; 10 Ah LiPosecondary battery: 44,4 V; 10 Ah (autonomous hot switching) Alternatively: External AC/DC Power Supply
Speed: 0.7 m/s (max), 0.1 m/s (nominal)
Actuation/ Engine:
4-wheel drive with active ground adaption,
alternatively short traverses of walking motion
- Force-Torque sensor FT-DELTA 160 at each wheel
- Inertial Measurement Unit KVH 1750
- USBL Evologics S2CR 48/78
- Camera Basler ACE
- LED lamps Bowtech
- Obstacle Avoidance Sonar Tritech Micron DST
- DVL Rowe SeaPilot
- Distributed Magnetometer Array
- Laser line projector
Gigabit Ethernet (with umbilical), up to 31.2 kbit/s (acoustic without umbilical)
On-Board Computer:
IntelCore i7-4785T, 2,2GHz
Structure and Mechanisms:
- 6 DoF Manipulator
- 4x 5DoF Suspension Units

Organisational Details

Sponsor: German Aerospace Center e.V.
Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action
Grant number: Funded by the German Space Agency (DLR Agentur) with federal funds of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology in accordance with the parliamentary resolution of the German Parliament. Grant no. 50 RA 1301.
Application Field: Underwater Robotics
Related Robots: SherpaTT
Expandable Rover for Planetary Applications
Exploration AUV for long-distance-missions

System description

AUV Leng and SherpaUW after a successful docking procedure. High-speed data communication is possible in this configuration. (Picture by: DFKI GmbH)
SherpaUW operates a valve mock-up while standing on a slope and leveling the body using its active suspension system. The active body control allows to increase the workspace of the manipulation arm. (Picture by: Thomas Frank, DFKI GmbH)
SherpaUW during subsystem test prior to submerging into DFKI RIC’s test basin. (Picture by: Thomas Frank, DFKI GmbH)

SherpaUW is a hybrid walking and driving exploration rover for subsea applications. The locomotive system consists of four legs with 5 active DoF each. Additionally, a 6 DoF manipulation arm is available. All joints of the legs and the manipulation arm are sealed against water. The arm is pressure compensated, allowing the deployment in deep sea applications.

The actuators are rated for depths up to 100m without oil filling, while 6.000m are rated for pressure compensated actuators.

Possible areas of application include surveillance and maintenance for underwater infrastructures, exploration and resource utilization and research on maritime deep sea life. The rover can be deployed as a single system or as part of a maritime multi-robot system.

SherpaUW’s hybrid crawler-design is intended to allow for extended long-term missions on the sea floor. Since it requires no extra energy to maintain its posture and position compared to traditional underwater ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles), SherpaUW is well suited for repeated and precise sampling operations, for example monitoring black smockers over a longer period of time.


SherpaUW: Tests with hybrid underwater rover in the maritime exploration hall

Back to the list of robot systems
last updated 07.11.2023