The Eurobot Ground Prototype (EGP) is a new robotic assistant designed to move around and work on a planet's surface either autonomously or in cooperation with astronauts.
It has a pair of robotic arms with interchangeable tools, force and torque sensors and advanced vision systems, including a 3D camera. It can also transport an astronaut, who can operate it by simple voice commands or a joystick.
The current prototype is capable of transporting 150 kg, including a suited astronaut. It has four driven wheels and is highly manoeuvrable, with its back wheels steerable over 120°.
Eurobot can be controlled from Earth or from a station located for instance on the International Space Station.
Thales Alenia Space is leading the project under a contract from ESA.
During the Rio Tinto Analogue Mission ESA team was assisted by Thales Alenia Space Italy and Joanneum Research; both are subcontractors on the project.
“Testing the synergy between an astronaut, rover and mission control centre also provided valuable lessons for planning future operations on a planetary surface and improving the rover design," said Philippe Schoonejans, the Eurobot Project Manager at ESA.