Lunar micro rover design for exploration through virtual reality tele-operation

Nathan Britton, Kazuya Yoshida, John Walker, Keiji Nagatani, Graeme Taylor, Loïc Dauphin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

13 Citations (Scopus)


A micro rover, code-named Moonraker, was developed to demonstrate the feasibility of 10kg-class lunar rover missions. Requirements were established based on the Google Lunar X-Prize mission guidelines in order to effectively evaluate the prototype. A 4-wheel skid steer configuration was determined to be effective to reduce mass, maximize regolith traversability, and fit within realistic restrictions on the rover’s envelope by utilizing the top corners of the volume. A static, hyperbolic mirror-based omnidirectional camera was selected in order to provide full 360° views around the rover, eliminating the need for a pan/tilt mechanism and motors. A front mounted, motorless MEMS laser scanner was selected for similar mass reduction qualities. A virtual reality interface is used to allow one operator to intuitively change focus between various narrow targets of interest within the wide set of fused data available from these sensors. Lab tests were conducted on the mobility system, as well as field tests at three locations in Japan and Mauna Kea. Moonraker was successfully teleoperated to travel over 900m up and down a peak with slopes of up to 15°. These tests demonstrate the rover’s capability to traverse across lunar regolith and gather sufficient data for effective situational awareness and near real-time tele-operation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationField and Service Robotics - Results of the 9th International Conference
EditorsLuis Mejias, Peter Corke, Jonathan Roberts, Jonathan Roberts
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9783319074870
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event9th International Conference on Field and Service Robotics, FSR 2013 - Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 2013 Dec 92013 Dec 11

Publication series

NameSpringer Tracts in Advanced Robotics
ISSN (Print)1610-7438
ISSN (Electronic)1610-742X


Other9th International Conference on Field and Service Robotics, FSR 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence


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