Not that northern Germany looks like Mars – but a space robot has successfully completed autonomous test drives in a sand pit near Bremen. Most recently, the “Sherpa TT” rover covered 500 meters in three hours, announced the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) in Bremen on Thursday.
Mostly on the go independently
The DFKI and 13 European partners have programmed the rover in two years of work so that it largely controls itself. When exploring Mars or collecting samples on the moon, robots should ideally work as independently as possible, stated the DKFI as a goal. You should navigate autonomously and independently find scientifically interesting places. Because of the delayed communication with distant celestial bodies, humans can only intervene in the robotic missions to a limited extent.
The 150 kilogram vehicle can either roll on wheels or step over obstacles. After initial tests in a hall in Bremen, further trips in Spain and on the Canary Island of Fuerteventura were planned. These were canceled due to Corona. Therefore, “Sherpa TT” first explored the Bremen racecourse in the open air, then “under typical northern German weather conditions” for five weeks the sand pit of Wulsbüttel (district of Cuxhaven). Soil samples were also collected from the mud and deposited.