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Two Cal Poly seniors develop rovers with outer space in mind

Posted at 5:12 PM, Jun 10, 2021

To study new planets for space travel and colonization -- that's the goal of two Cal Poly graduating seniors.

Students Cameron Priest and Ryan Ozawa worked with their engineering class to develop two rovers. The result? Versions four and five of the rovers have camera tracking and movement abilities.

“We worked on the motion system for our capstone project, then I worked on a vision system for my senior project,” Priest explained. “It follows a person around right now.”

The students even named the rovers. The white one is Herbie, and the black one is The Exoskeleton. Herbie is equipped with a camera that can track and follow a person’s movements, and The Exoskeleton has better movement abilities, the students say.

“I love that I can actually make it do things. I have very good control over it,” Ozawa said. “If I don’t like a behavior due to the command, I can change that.”

The ability to mold the project and make his idea a reality was amazing, Ozawa says.

The students’ next goal is to combine both rovers’ skills into one powerful rover.

Course instructor Rich Murray hopes to eventually pitch the mini-rover concept to space agencies.