Insect Inspired LAURON Robot Designed for Planetary Exploration

Posted on August 1, 2017

LAURON is an insect inspired robot developed at the FZI (Research Center for Information Technology) in Karlsruhe, Germany. The robot was initially created for studying six-legged walking robots and as a search and rescue robot. The FZI is now looking at the use of developing robots for planetary exploration.

The robot has legs with 3D force sensors and a spring-damper system. A protective green shell covers its back. It is capable of navigating rocky and uneven terrain. It uses multiple camera systems. The robot also has a mechanical claw on one of its legs that can be used to grasp small objects.

FZI also wants to develop robots that know when to take risks through a project called intelliRisk. The intelligence could be used on autonomous missions in situations where the robot encounters a steep slope or a trench. Should the robot make the attempt or act more cautiously and explore a different area. The researchers say this is particular important in situations where mission success is more important than hardware retention. It might be useful to program the robot to be less risk adverse if scientists think a big discovery could be made. At the same time you don't want the autonomous robot going for it at every obstacle it encounters.

Here's a recent video of the lauron robot grabbing a plush frog. Take a look:

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