Space Robotics Group

University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies

Recent Projects

Multiagent Autonomous Excavation

Culminating in February 2010, a seven member team from the Space Robotics Group joined several industrial partners on top of Mauna Kea, a dormant Hawaiian volcano, to demonstrate a three-rover multiagent excavation team perform autonomous site preparation and autonomous digging tasks for CSA (Canadian Space Agency) and NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) officials. This demonstration was the product of over a year and half of planning, design, and testing.

The intent was to demonstrate the autonomous capabilities of a team of rovers to find and prepare landing pads and roads in harsh environments similar to those found on the Moon or Mars, thus preparing them for human arrival. After all, having humans directly involved in physical labour on other planetary bodies can be very costly (monetarily as well as practically), so the more work that can be done by rovers the better.

The rovers were outfitted with ground penetrating radar sensors to take a snapshot deep into the ground below to ensure no large boulders lay hidden while others had large plow attachments to push and level dirt into flat surfaces.

After three weeks of intense testing (and mild sunburns), the mission was completed successfully.

Press Releases

NASA, International Partners Test Rovers in Hawaii (23-Feb-2010)