Image: Controlling robots at the Human Robot Interaction Laboratory

May 3, 2017 , European Space Agency
Credit: ESA–G. Porter

What is the best way to control a robot from afar as you circle a planet with your mechanised alter ego doing precise work on the surface? ESA is testing human–robot control in space and on Earth as part of a strategy that sees astronauts controlling robots from space.

Last week at ESA's technical heart in the Netherlands, the Interact Centaur rover was controlled from the Human Robot Interaction Laboratory next door, formerly known as the Telerobotics and Haptics lab. Relying on video feedback, the operator drove the car-sized rover through an obstacle course.

The left hand controls the rover's movements, while the right-hand controller pictured here moves the 's arm and gripper, offering 3D movement such as twisting and gripping. 

Provided by European Space Agency