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AI robotics test facilities for various orbital and planetary applications hosted by SSC's STAR LAB.

Orbital robotics testbed

  • Physical simulation testbed of up to 8DoF orbital dynamics and motion of cooperative or non-cooperative target objects in free space, provided by multiple robotic arms and/or air bearing table.
  • Physical simulation testbed of 6DoF manipulation and > 6DOF grasping mechanisms in a complete range of control modes from tele-operation to full autonomy, under disturbances and uncertainties caused by orbital dynamics, occlusion and sensor noise affecting precision and accuracy of the manipulation and capturing systems.
  • In-house developed unreal rendered photo-realistic Orbital Visual Simulator (OrViS) of environmental parameters (such as lighting, occlusion and sensor noise) affecting sensing and perception in orbit.
  • System V&V against ground truth and benchmarks for proximity guidance, navigation, control and autonomy.

Surface robotics testbeds

  • Surrey autonoMous software And Rover hardware Testbed (SMART): Reconfigurable and customisable, in terms of the rover active and passive chassis designs, wheels/tracks, and the payload options including mono, stereo or panoramic cameras, 2D or 3D LIDAR. The SMART testbed operates on standardised mid-ware ROS for testing of modular autonomy functions and applications, and employs a full range of control, data acquisition and analysis, and adjustable gravity effect.
  • Commercial robotic platforms for algorithmic validation and software testing, including Pioneer 3AT, Seekur Jr, Pepper and MIRO.
  • ESA PANGU Simulator of planetary surface topology, appearance and texture and potential environmental parameters (e.g. lighting, dusts) affecting visual sensing, perception and navigation performance of the rovers.
  • ESA APCI Framework for testing autonomy algorithms or decision-making software.
  • High performance computing servers/clouds supporting system verification and validation against ground truth and benchmarks.

Subsurface robotics testbeds

  • Soil characterisation and preparation to simulate Martian and lunar (icy and non-icy) regolith for lab-based testing and experiments.
  • Subsurface drilling and sampling test rigs with force control, data acquisition and analysis, and adjustable gravity effect.
  • Motion capture system with infrared motion cameras and 3D motion tracking (sub-mm accuracy).
  • Numerical modelling capability based on DEM for design simulation and analysis of drills and samplers.

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