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Prof. Dr. Zachmann from the University of Bremen and Dr. Daniel Kühn from the "Deutschen Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz (DFKI)" report in an Interview with about the project „Valles Marineris Explorer – Virtual TestBed“ (VaMEx-VTB), which simulates robots on Mars.

VaMEx-VTB is a sub-project of the project line VaMEx funded by DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt/German Aerospace Centre) and VaMEx-VTB sub-project is developed by the University of Bremen (Computer Graphics and Virtual Reality Research Lab (CGVR)). Other VaMEx project partners include TU Braunschweig IfF (Institut für Fahrzeugtechnik), Bundeswehr University Munich ISTA (Institute of Space Technology and Space Applications), DLR Institut KN (The Institute of Communications and Navigation), RIC DFKI (The Robotics Innovation Center), TUM Lehrstuhl für Medientechnik (TUM Chair of Media Technology), Uni Würzburg, Inst. für IT für Luft- und Raumfahrt (Modern aerospace systems Instiute), DFKI GmbH (The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence), TUM Lehrstuhl für Flugsystemdynamik (Institute of Flight System Dynamics), TUM Lehrstuhl für Kommunikation und Navigation (Institute for Communications and Navigation), NavVis GmbH and ANavS GmbH (Advanced Navigation Solutions).

VaMEx project line is an initiative for the development of concepts, algorithms, and hardware for a swarm-based exploration of the Valles Marineris on the planet Mars. The swarm comprises different elements such as rovers, UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones)) and hominid robots (called as Charlie). The idea is to have an autonomous swarm navigation and exploration system which communicate with each other. Real physical tests for the validation and verification of such complex autonomous navigation and exploration systems are time-consuming, expensive and difficult due to the requirement of implementation of advanced hardware and to find or build a suitable environment for the validation. Therefore, testing in a virtual environment and framework overcomes all of the above shortcomings and provides several other benefits. VaMEx-VTB is one such platform which provides a simulation framework for testing the swarm behavior on the Mars terrain.


The project comprises two major goals:

The main features of the VaMEx-VTB are as follows:


Video demonstrating VTB.
Short video demonstrating VTB.
Short video demonstrating VTB.
Short video demonstrating VTB.
Short video demonstrating VTB.
Short video demonstrating VTB.

Other Screenshots

Swarm Elements Screenshot

Different swarm units.