FAIR-SPACE Visits the ESA ESTEC Robotics Facilities


Colleagues from the FAIR-SPACE Hub were lucky enough to be given a tour of the European Space Agency (ESA) European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) robotics facilities in early May and had the opportunity to meet some of the team from ESA’s Automation and Robotics group including the Head of Automation and Robotics Section, Gianfranco Visentin.

ESA’s Automation and Robotics group has worked on several areas related to Artificial Intelligence for Space Robotics including control architectures for autonomy, perception means and algorithms, motion planning and control (including motion behaviours and reflexes), as well as activity planning and re-planning. As a result Hub staff were keen to talk with the team and find out how the activities of the FAIR-SPACE Hub aligned with those currently in development at ESA. 

In the Human Robot Interaction Laboratory, Nikos Mavrakis experimented with the new telepresence and telerobotics system, whilst in the Planetary Robotics Lab we were talked through the latest technologies being developed at ESA and shown some of the robots that had been developed in the past. In the Orbital Robotics Lab the SpaceBok was showcased and we met the development team who were demonstrating the robot on a free floating platform in order to simulate the benefits of the hopping motion in low gravity. 

Thanks to ESA Automation & Robotics Group for their hospitality.

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