After the positive results of the test of June at the ALTEC Moon Mars Terrain Demonstrator (a video of this activity is available in the proper section), the work of the team has been focused on the engineering model upgrade.
Tests have shown the need to reduce weight and optimize hardware and software engineering.
First of all a review of wheels and suspension design has been done, in order to identify and remove the weight in excess, all these activities has been done taking care to avoid to build new components, just modifying the existing ones.
As preventive study for a future use of more powerful motors was also developed a wheel design where the weight reduction of the material also create a bigger internal useful volume for the motors themselves.
In the meantime electronic engineers have corrected some software’s bugs and reduced the commands lag noticed during the tests. The speed of the firmware has been improved by 4 times.
In the end a backplane PCB was designed, developed and debugged able to connect all the electronic nodes in a more safe and strong way compared to the actual developer version.
After this new implementations the aim is to have new rover test campaign on the ALTEC MMTD before the end of 2012.