This is an exciting opportunity for a fully funded PhD studentship in the Centre for Autonomous and Cyber-Physical Systems at Cranfield University, to develop an autonomous multi-robot system for fast and long traversal in extreme planetary environments.
Fast and long traversal in extreme planetary environments is required for quality scientific data gathering, unknown region exploration, in-situ resource utilization, and future human colonization missions. Rugged terrains, extreme environments, and planetary robot/rover locomotion and capabilities (e.g., heavy payload, low speed, small operation time, onboard resources, supervised autonomy) poses challenges for a single robot/rover to achieve fast and long traversal. This thesis investigates an autonomous multi-robot system (wheeled, aerial, and/or hopping robot) as a prospective solution for fast and long traversal problem in extreme planetary environments. The focus is on developing autonomous decision-making algorithms for the multi-robot system covering large planetary area (partially known or unknown) with rugged terrains. The specific topics of interest are multirobot coordination, mission and task planning, and autonomous navigation (localization, mapping, planning, and control) with focus on low cost and simple solutions.