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Design and evaluation of an end-effector for a reconfigurable multi-robot system for future planetary missions

Wiebke Brinkmann; Thomas M. Roehr; Sankaranarayanan Natarajan; Florian Cordes; Roland Sonsalla; Roman Szczuka; Sebastian Bartsch; Frank Kirchner
In: Proceedings of the 2018 IEEE Aerospace Conference. IEEE Aerospace Conference, March 3-10, Big Sky, Montana, USA, Pages 1-10, IEEE, 3/2018.


This paper presents the design, functionality and evaluation of an end-effector, operating at the end of a 6 degree-offreedom manipulator of the existing planetary rover SherpaTT. The end-effector consists of an active electro-mechanical interface (EMI), which has an active mechanical docking interface, as well as power and data connectors, a camera primary used for visual servoing and LED lights. The ability of the end-effector to grapple different robotic systems and change their configuration is proved under laboratory and field conditions in the framework of a heterogeneous multi-robot system. The end-effector of SherpaTT is an improved version of the previous end-effector of the predecessor project RIMRES. This paper outlines the development process and improvements of the end-effector and describes its the role within different terrestrial test scenarios in more detail. Learned lesson will help to develop the end-effector in the H2020 EU-funded project SIROM(Standard Interface for Robotic Manipulation of Payloads in Future Space Missions), which will be deployed at the manipulator of SherpaTT for experimental verification for future planetary missions.