August 16, 2022
GITAI USA, which develops space robotics, has announced the GITAI IN1 (Inchworm One), a robotic arm that is equipped with “grapple end-effectors” on both ends of the arm. The unique feature enables the robot to connect to various end-effectors to perform multiple tasks, as well as provide mobility to enable it to move in any direction. The robot can also connect and disconnect itself among different vehicles, such as rovers, landers and satellites.
In collaboration with the GITAI R1 lunar rover, the IN1 has successfully completed various tests corresponding to Level 3 of NASA’s Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) in a simulated lunar environment at the JAXA Sagamihara Campus. As the demand for development and construction tasks in space are increasing, the requirements for space robots are becoming more diverse and complex, the company said.
The ground demonstration test emulates tasks that will be required for future lunar explorations and lunar base constructions using two robots: the IN1 robot arm and R1, a lunar rover. In the mobility performance verification test, the IN1 arm moved itself autonomously from the lunar lander to the R1 rover, moved to a worksite carried by R1, performed various tasks, and returned to the lunar lander to verify its performance.
In the capability performance test, the robot conducted a series of tasks such as breaking down resource samples using cutting tools, recovering resource samples using shovels, and transporting resource samples using a tow vehicle, all while switching between multiple end-effectors (above).
For more details on the new robot arm, visit the GITAI website here.