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Introducing an open source 3D printed rover powered by ROS

Hi there!
We are happy to announce the release of our open source rover powered by ROS.

We are working in the Planetary Robotics Laboratory of the European Space Agency and developed ExoMy for enthusiasts and educational use. The rover is completely 3D-printed and uses of-the-shelve components so it can easily be built. It features a complete set of building instructions in our wiki.

Usage of ROS

We are using the Ubuntu 18.04 with ROS melodic binaries. The native installation of a specific Ubuntu version on a specific Raspberry Pi version can be difficult. Thus, we installed Raspberry Pi OS on the Raspberry Pi 4 and are running an Ubuntu Docker image with the ROS installation. This makes the installation of the software stack a breeze and allows it to be used on any Raspberry Pi.

Features of the Rover

Using a custom web interface or a gamepad, it is possible to teleoperate the rover in three modes (crabbing, ackermann and spot turn). The rover has a triple-bogie locomotion subsystem which allows it to overcome obstacles as big as it’s wheels.
The camera can be used for the teleoperation and in future work for computer vision.


Next Steps

We are currently transitioning the ExoMy software to ROS2, since we’re also working on porting our lab codebase to ROS2.

Let us know what you think!

21 Likes

This is super cool! Is there a vendor selling electrical kits? Have you considered certifying the rover as open hardware? Do you know the maximum component dimensions (so I can know it will fit on my printer)?

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Hey there, there are several Canonical/Ubuntu engineers around here, can we help you with this? I don’t mean to dilute the thread, feel free to PM me, but we’re happy to help in any way we can.

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Hey Katherine!
Thanks for the interest :slight_smile:

Currently there is no vendor that sells a kit. We have an interested party however that might make a kit available if there is enough interest.

I was not aware of a open source hardware certificate. Are you referring to the OSHWA Certification? Currently the source files are released under the GPL v3 license, but I’ll look into the certification as it might be more fitting for a hardware project.

The minimum build volume is 202 x 202 x 110 mm (x,y,z). Have a look at the 3D printing page on the wiki for more information and which printers ExoMy was already printed on. If you start building it, we’d be happy to hear about your experience here or on our Discord. :smiley:

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