Porsche Working on Space Exploration Robots, and Here They Are

Over the past few decades, the space exploration and car making industries have become intertwined. We already have the examples of Toyota or GM, who have lent or will lend their expertise to space agencies. But there are others too.
Porsche Robot Mantis 4 photos
Photo: Porsche
Robot MatisAILA RobotRover Sherpa
To date, German carmaker Porsche stood clear of this emerging trend, as it did with the autonomous vehicles industry. But that doesn't mean the company is not aware of the benefits machines that build on the developments in the auto industry would have.

In the latest issue of the Porsche Engineering Magazine, the carmaker details the efforts made together with an engineering team from the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), led by Prof. Frank Kirchner.

The team is working on a series of robots meant for missions in space and other planets, including underwater, inspired by nature and moving about on the same principle as autonomous cars.

The first is the Robot Mantis, a machine with six extremities that can climb the rugged terrain one would usually encounter in places like the Moon.

The Rover Sherpa is an active suspension robot meant to tackle a variety of terrain and obstacles that can be used in a wide range of environments.

AILA is a humanoid robot used for research in the field of mobile manipulation. It is fitted with two hands complete with fingers and has 32 degrees of freedom.

"Intelligent and autonomous robots are indispensable for space exploration because they require no food and no oxygen," said Porsche in a statement justifying the work conducted by its Engineering department with DFKI.

"And once the mission is done, they don't need a return journey to Earth. They do, however, have to be able to hold their own, to some extent, on strange moons and planets."

The carmaker did not say how advanced the research into these robots is, or when, if ever, we'll get to see them flying on an actual mission to space.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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