Robots such as this could one day work autonomously on Mars. Image Credit: UK Space Agency
Exploratory vehicles equipped with artificial intelligence could open up the surface of Mars like never before.
While scientists have made great strides in the development of roving vehicles for use on other worlds over the last two decades, there are limitations to what can be achieved with manual controls.
As things stand now, Mars rovers move very slowly and require commands from a human operator on Earth to function - commands that take several minutes to arrive due to the distances involved.
Autonomous rovers however have the potential to be much quicker and can respond in real-time to obstacles - as well as to points of interest - on the Martian surface.
A working example of this technology can be found in 'Sherpa' - a four-wheeled robot designed and built by researchers at King's College London and aerospace company Airbus.
Designed to operate without the need for human commands, the rover was recently dropped off in the Sahara Desert for a month to see how it got on in conditions similar to those found on Mars.
It managed to pass with flying colors - having traveled 1.4km all on its own during that time.
"Mars is a very difficult planet to land safely on, so it's essential to maximise the discoveries from each successful touchdown," said the UK Space Agency's Catherine Mealing-Jones.
"New autonomous robot technology like this will help to further unlock Mars's mysteries and I'm delighted that the UK is a key player."
Source: Telegraph | Comments (1)
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