New type of robotic arm and joints lighter than ever
A TDE activity to build a lightweight robotic arm, the DExtrous Lightweight Arm for exploration (DELIAN), has identified four families of joints, that were then developed into a complete robotic arm and system.
The robotic exploration of Mars has been identified as one of the main objectives for Europe in the arena of planetary exploration.
For this purpose, ESA’s Mars Robotic Exploration Preparation Programme proposed developing key enabling technologies, which can be used as a starting point in the frame of European contributions to Mars Sample Return mission.
The building blocks of this technology, performed by Leonardo S.p.A. (IT), RUAG (CH), CSEM (CH) and Thales Alenia Space Italia (IT), can also be considered for robotic platforms operating on the lunar surface.
The DELIAN is a generic lightweight robotic arm that enables accessibility of the Martian surface for either sample acquisition, sample retrieval or instrument deployment as part of a rover or a lander platform.
The team identified four families of joints as the basis for the arm. They also made a joint engineering model, which has been subjected to functional and environmental testing. A development model of a complete robotic arm and control system has also been produced.
The arm is equivalent to a flight-like version in terms of joint and limb dynamics and flexibility. An end-to-end verification in laboratory conditions has been performed, exploiting important control aspects such as positioning accuracy with deflection compensation.
This is related to the TDE activity, 4000106154/ T913-003MM.