Start-up robotics company, Rovenso, has been working with researchers from École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) to develop ROVéo, a four-wheeled robot that can climb obstacle two-thirds its height.
The company now aims to produce a larger-scale model with a robotic arm for use in emergency situations, such as dismantling nuclear plants.
ROVéo was designed to look like an armadillo with a motor on each leg. The robot’s wheels are autonomous and its legs are linked together by one degree of freedom in order to give the robot the ability to handle uneven terrain – even climb stairs.
Rovenso is now working on a remote-control system that combines the robot’s technology so that steering is done by synchronizing the rotation of the front and rear wheels to allow for high-precision maneuvers like reversing.
"The device has no trouble moving on both convex and concave surfaces, whether solid or loose,” says Thomas Estier, Rovens’s co-founder.
The company is now raising money to complete a version of ROVéo weighing over 1,000 lbs, but with all of the same mechanisms.
The heavyweight version will include a robotic arm for remote handling operations and its main purpose will be to handle emergency situations.