Mission to Mars
The Mars rover Spirit ... . Credit: NASA
How is a Mars rover actually steered and what happens if it gets stuck? How can a doctor in Cologne treat a patient in Munich? How can robots help when there is a disaster? The student experiment on telepresence investigates these questions in depth.
... and his little brother, ASUROnaut. Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
There are many intelligent machines at work in our daily life. Robots weld cars together and bake bread. They can do jobs that are too dangerous or too strenuous for us humans. But they can only accomplish these things because we tell them precisely what they are supposed to do. But what if we ourselves don't know the situation? We don't know what we are going to find on a distant planet. Or what the inside of a collapsed house looks like. So, in addition to its assignments the robot also has to share images and impressions with us so that we can correctly judge the situation and act accordingly.
Students experiment with ASUROnaut in an artificial Mars landscape. Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
In our experiment it's possible to find out what it means to explore a landscape with a robot when we are "only" able to see by looking through his eyes. For example, even a minimal delay of less than a second makes precise steering very difficult. The challenges that arise already in this playful activity are related to actual experiments and applications in aeronautics and aerospace as well as telemedicine and service robotics.