A report describes a rover-type robotic wheeled vehicle recently built for use as a testbed for development of software for future rover-type vehicles. This vehicle is a derivative of the Field Integrated Design and Operations (FIDO) rover, which is a prototype Mars- exploration rover that also serves as a terrestrial testbed.

The present vehicle was designed to be nearly functionally identical to the FIDO rover but to be built at much lower cost and to incorporate several improvements to increase utility for development work. Accordingly, considerable effort was made to use commercial off-the-shelf parts and other parts that could be fabricated easily and at low cost. Important features of this vehicle include six-wheel drive and six-wheel steering; onboard computer and power, control, and data-communication electronics having flexibility needed for development of software; significantly increased maximum speed (60 cm/s versus 6 cm/s for the FIDO rover); a rocker-bogey suspension with external differential link, functionally equivalent to that of the FIDO rover; and a hand-held remote controller that can be used to control vehicle motion manually without using the computer (or while waiting for the onboard computer to boot up).

This work was done by Herman Herman and Reid Simmons of Carnegie Mellon University and Richard D. Petras of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.


This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).

FIDO-Class Development Rover (reference NPO-45645) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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