In this edition of ValiStudents, we hear from Team DIANA, a rover building team from Torino in Italy that have designed and developed ARDITO, a martian rover demonstrator that is now impressing in competitions throughout Europe.
DIANA is a student team from Politecnico di Torino that designs, develops and builds robotic systems for Space Exploration. The team currently consists of about 50 students that come from many different study courses and from several countries. At the moment, DIANA’s main project is ARDITO, a martian rover demonstrator meant for astronaut assistance missions.
After about a year of design and development, ARDITO made its first public appearance at the European Rover Challenge 2021 finals, held this September in Poland. Now, however, the team is already looking at the stars…
The ARDITO project revolves around a modular rover based on four core modules: Power, Logic, Mobility, and Robotic Arm. They account for the basic functionalities of the system. Power and Logic modules provide all the necessary hardware for powering and controlling the rover. The Mobility consists of a rocker-bogie structure with six motorized custom elastic wheels, four of which can also steer. Responsible for the locomotion function, it allows the rover to traverse over harsh and uneven terrain, overcome small obstacles and climb slopes.
The Robotic Arm is a six-degrees-of-freedom robotic arm that allows the system to manipulate objects and actively interact with the environment. A modular End-Effector and compatible tools widely increase the range of fulfillable operations.
The system is then designed so as to accommodate also other modules in order to fulfil many other tasks. For example, during the past year, the team designed a Deep Sampling System (for collecting subsurface soil samples), a Scientific Laboratory (for analysing surface samples), and a Raman Spectrometer (for rocks and soil examination).
This year goals included participating in the European Rover Challenge 2021 on-site finals, and Valispace resulted particularly helpful for qualifying for the competition. The qualification process, indeed, was based on the preparation of specific project documentation that came in the form of a Proposal Report and of a Preliminary Design Report.
Thanks to Valispace, we were able to improve the requirements and functional analyses processes. In particular, the new platform allowed the team to define more standardized, more organized and clearer Technical Requirements Specifications. This essentially led to a better understanding of the competition rules, with obvious benefits, and also to more professional documentation. As a consequence, The results have been undeniably positive, as we qualified as the 5th best team, out of 58 applicants.
Valispace & development
The Valispace software was suggested to us by another university team, which had some experience with it. After the first period was dedicated to understanding the software, we then started using it more and more until it completely changed the way in which we perform the Requirements and Functional Analyses. This software played a fundamental role in achieving a more standardised and traceable requirement engineering process, making it more effective and more complete.
At DIANA, we envision a solid future with Valispace as we aim at spreading its use across the team and throughout the project lifecycle. We also plan to exploit more of the other features Valispace can provide. We definitely hope for continuous and fruitful collaboration with Valispace, for the improvement of both parties.
DIANA is currently working on improving the ARDITO system, making it fully functional for both hypothetical space missions and also for the many competitions around the world. We will always aim higher, as demonstrated by the team current participation in the ESA-ESRICS Space Resources Challenge. And we are eager to think of Valispace, not only as a helpful engineering tool but also as one of our partners during this journey.