The dramatic conclusion to ESA’s latest StarTiger project: a ‘dropship’ quadcopter steers itself to lower a rover gently onto a safe patch of the rocky martian surface. StarTiger’s Dropter project was tasked with developing and demonstrating a European precision-landing capability for Mars and other targets.
Starting from scratch for the eight-month project, the Dropter team was challenged to produce vision-based navigation and hazard detection and avoidance for the dropship. It has to identify a safe landing site and height before winching down its passenger rover on a set of cables. Flight testing took place at Airbus Defence and Space’s Trauen test site in northern Germany.
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz, DFKI
Poznañ University of Technology/Institute of Control and Information Engineering, IAII
Airbus Defence & Space
ExoMars – Protection for life on Mars
Earth from Space: special edition
Feb. 18: Our Perseverance Rover & Ingenuity Helicopter Arrive at Mars
NASA’s Flying Saucer Makes Second Voyage to the Edge of Space
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