Mars Curiosity inspired Rover

It's been a while since I did any "robot" work.  I've been rather absorbed in my 3D Printer firmware.

I thought it was time I took a little side break, and kicked up something I've been thinking about for a while. 

I want to create an autonomous rover based on the concept of the Mars Curiosity Rover.    

No, it won't have a  radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG), nor will it have fancy bio-chemical analysis thing-a-ma-bobbers... 

But it will be cool! 


Independent 6-wheel "rocker-bogie" suspension to allow it to crawl over fairly rough terrain unimpeded.

Neato XV-11 Wheel assembly

I happened to acquire a few Neato XV11 robot vacuums, 
and will be tearing them down for parts.  Each one has a pair of geared motors with optical encoders.  

A Teensy 3.2 will be used for each pair to ensure accurate positioning and velocity profiling. 

Teensy 3.2 for Motion Control


Neato XV-11 LIDAR sensor

The Neato XV-11 also has a very unique LIDAR system for mapping out room dimensions and identifying obstacles.

LIDAR mapping, A* Path planning, and Object Avoidance via multiple Sharp Infra-red proximity sensors will be done on a Raspberry Pi 3B
GPS, as well as a 9 degree of freedom fusion sensor on the chassis will also be managed by this Pi.

A* Path Planning

A Second Raspberry Pi 3B will be responsible for communications and streaming cameras. Running Nodebots, a javascript engine for Robot management, this Pi will have api's to allow connectivity via Android tablet, as well as a full web server.  

The 4 dof manipulator arm will be managed by another Teensy 3.2 and a separate  9 degree of freedom fusion sensor will sit on the wrist positional feedback.


I found on my previous rover, that another set of Infrared proximity sensors were needed on the bottom, front and back.  

Positioned on a 45 degree angle, these "cliff sensors" would alert you when the rover was in danger of falling over the edge of a cliff... ie, a set of stairs.

Similar to my previous rover, I will use a commercial 20,000ma Li-Ion power bank to power the electronics, and a separate Lead Acid 12v battery for the motors and servos.


I am also going to attempt foldable solar panels. Four panels, attached with hinges and servos, will fold away when not in use, but be able to extend off the back, fold out, and position for maximum light transfer when required. 

Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome as I embark on this awesome summer project.


Autonomous Rover - using Neato-XV11 LIDAR plus sharp infrared

  • Control method: Bluetooth
  • Programming language: C++, Python, javascript, node.js
  • Sensors / input devices: GPS, RPi camera
  • Target environment: outdoor, rough terrain

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Talk about a bucket - list

Talk about a bucket - list robot!  Would be awesome to add a home-built spectrometer. I’ve looked into ways to do that but I haven’t found anything reasonable.  Are you going to attempt the articulating wheels too?





Articulating wheels?

But of course… “attempt” being the opperative word here, but I’m fairly certain I’ve got the mechanics figured out.

How have you been, my friend.  Sorry I’ve been away from here so long.

Life, getting in the way of living.



Same here. I check in to LMR

Same here. I check in to LMR occasionally, but haven’t been able to do much on the hobby.  I literally dusted off VADER and started looking at him again last week. He uses OddBot’s Service Droid kit.  Concerned that a lot of reference material may now be stripped from LMR so I’ll be starting over in some areas.


Very interesting.  I hope you post often as you progress.  I will be following.

I have some similar goals for a rover based on a Wild Thumper with a 3D printed upper body.  Once I got over the initial pain in the ass learning curve of thinking about how everything (including screws and wires) fits together in 3D, I find designing robot bodies is a lot of fun.

The rotating LIDAR is very interesting.  I wonder if you’ll need to be able to periodically tilt the LIDAR to get more resolution than a single plane outdoors in rough/unlevel terrain.  I keep wanting to try it out (or  a depth camwera) but keep sticking with sonar.

Good luck.




I really love the suspension as it is on these rovers.

I think Sojourner had a similar one back then, I would definitely use it if I would build an Outdoor rover!

Beach Robot

My name is Joseph Caristena
I am a Canadian citizen living in Italy.

I visited your website today.

I need a project to clean sea beaches.

So a robot that runs and works on sand beach
with automatic detection of cans , bottles and any kind of small junk on the

The beach robot should pick up the junk and drop it in a container on the back.

Can you please tell me if this robot works on sand and on a beach ?

Joseph Caristena
Mobile +39 349 1456195


Beach Robot


Just want to know if this robot runs on a beach.


Joseph Caristena

This is a bot i have to build one day, theres just something extremely cool about lunar/Mars rovers