Off-world Robotic Excavation for Large-scale Habitat Construction and Resource Extraction

Matthew Dunbabin, Peter Corke, Graeme Winstanley, Jonathan Roberts

This paper describes technologies we have developed to perform autonomous large-scale off-world excavation. A scale dragline excavator of size similar to that required for lunar excavation was made capable of autonomous control. Systems have been put in place to allow remote operation of the machine from anywhere in the world. Algorithms have been developed for complete autonomous digging and dumping of material taking into account machine and terrain constraints and regolith variability. Experimental results are presented showing the ability to autonomously excavate and move large amounts of regolith and accurately place it at a specified location.

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