During the development of the Lunar Exploration Light Rover, BRP, a subcontractor of the prime subcontractor, MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd., created the SL-Commander. This all-terrain vehicle is an electric version of BRP's commercially available BRP Commander. It is fully automated and can be remotely operated to drive itself at a maximum speed of 40kph (24.85mph). The SL-Commander weighs 1,100kg (2,425 pounds) and can carry a payload of 200kg (440.9 pounds). (Source: Canadian Space Agency)
@ervin0072002: I think this is a difference of terminology. When they say "prototype," think "proof of concept." Actually, even that might be too strong of a term. The CSA doesn't have the means to put one of these on the Moon or Mars, even if they wanted to. These are basically just show and tell pieces that will hopefully benefit Canadian companies.
Actually, this is a pretty good idea, Mr_bandit. Not sure it would be as cost effective as the current rover. But maybe it would, With smaller rovers, there would be less of a chance of malfunction since it would be spread across multiple units.
The problem with the rovers to date is the "all eggs in one basket".
I read about a concept in 1988 where you take a bunch of small "rovers" - think of the RC cars that can bounce all over the terrain or one of the small robots by Big Dog - and a "mother ship". Assume 100 of the small rovers per Mother. Assume 10..50 Mothers. The Mother would land with the small rovers, and act as a home base for re-transmitting signals, swarm coordination, and refueling (electrical power).
The rovers would be redundant - ie 10 would have lasers, 10 with soil analysis, 10 with a mass spec, etc. Mission control would give a target, the Mother would direct the right mix to the spot. Need more laser power? use more laser rovers.
The redundancy gives you a much higher success rate - you can easily lose 10% without degradation of the general mission.
So - I respectfully ask - what is the problem with this? Why not do it, esp on Mars? The Bouncy Ball rover delivery would work. We Have The Technology.
BTW - the "Flagstaff Meteor Crater" is closer to Winslow (20 miles) than Flagstaff (36 miles). Drove past it last week. Also stood on a particular corner in Winslow, AZ, such a fine sight to see.
I am used to a different environment. My prototypes go through assurance testing and have to perform same as the product that goes into certification. there is a large list of things that can go wrong during lift-off as well as space operation.
NadineJ, I agree. Electronic Controls prototypes I've worked on were never designed for production use but for technology Proof of Concept. The cases were made of SLA material and looked like homebrew boxes but the electronics worked quite well under test. These rover designs definitely fit the category of "What If" just by their appearance.
ervin0072002, I noticed the holes and cabling as well. Maybe the intent behind these prototypes is to demonstrate Driveability Proof of Concept regarding rough terrain. Some of the designs look plain but in space functionality is what really matters.
As manufacturers add new technologies to their products, designing for compliance becomes more difficult. Prepare for the certification testing process. Otherwise, you increase the risk of discovering a safety issue after a product leaves the assembly line. That will cause significant time-to-market delays, be much costlier to fix, and damage your brand in the eyes of customers.
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