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Germans to test space tech in US desert

dpa logodpa 17/08/2016

A four-week long field test in the Utah desert will observe how new robot systems work in a natural, unstructured landscape similar to Mars.

Researchers will test new robot technology in the Mars-like deserts of Utah, the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) announced Wednesday.

"Many situations that could occur in space can be almost perfectly simulated here," Frank Kirchner, head of the Robotics Innovation Centre said. Utah is a western state in the US known for its expansive red deserts.

The objective of the four-week long field test is to observe how these new systems work in a natural, unstructured landscape that is similar to Mars, the press release said.

The two robots, Coyote III and SherpaTT, are remote controlled via Bluetooth technology and semi-autonomous, meaning they can act independently to some extent.

Last week, DFKI presented a Praying Mantis-like robot, named Mantis, that can manoeuvre over rubble and steep craters, while using its forearms to collect samples.

Mantis could also be helpful on Earth during disaster situations, the researchers said.

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