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Published: 07 February 2014

STAR lab presents at UK KTN’s ‘Autonomy and Advanced Systems’ showcase

Research group demonstrates autonomous micro-rover technology to industry and academia.

Researchers from the Surrey Technology for Autonomous systems and Robotics (STAR) lab, hosted within the Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and the Department of Electronic Engineering, created a stand on an autonomous lightweight rover with intelligent soil sensors at the UK Knowledge Transfer Network’s (UK KTN) engineering showcase, entitled ‘Building world-changing partnerships: Autonomy and Advanced Systems’.                                                  

Their compact ground vehicle was capable of navigation in very hostile environments, and able to negotiate challenging terrains. This technology has been developed for use in space, and also has the potential to be adapted for earth, across agriculture and mining industries.

Surrey’s display was visited by the Universities and Science MP, David Willetts. Discussions have been made with the Minister regarding lessons learnt from recent planetary missions and how intelligent soil sensing technologies (like the ones developed by the STAR Lab) can prevent expensive space rovers getting stuck in loose sand.

“This event was an excellent opportunity to showcase our novel research concepts, and demonstrate feasibilities of these concepts in solving real-world problems,” said Head of the STAR lab, Professor Yang Gao.

“We have attracted many participants from non-space industries who begin to think about technology transfer of our research into their sectors.”

The UK KTN event was host to exhibitions, live demonstrations and keynote speakers, and welcomed over 200 attendees from industry and academia. Participants were encouraged to learn about innovative technologies including autonomous air and marine vehicles, and advanced systems.