Autonomous power grid formation for surface assets using multiple unmanned ground vehicles

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics; Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


Mobile microgrid formation using multiple Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) can establish surface power sources and integrate mission infrastructure autonomously. Advancement of this technology is martialed by the expedited Artemis mission to return to the Moon by 2024, with residence there by 2028. Many of the infrastructure deployment tasks to support this mission will depend on advance assembly by robotic agents. Consider the deployment of multiple Kilopower reactors to supply power to a lunar habitation module, with UGVs to position the reactors and connect power grid elements with cables. To accomplish this complex task, a number of robotic controllers have been integrated on all-terrain UGVs. These controllers comprise waypoint navigation, visual docking, electrical connection coupling, and electrical cable deployment. Hardware which supports the mission includes the UGV platform, odometry and perception sensors, distributed communications, and electrical grid infrastructure. Robot Operating System (ROS) provides a core development architecture. Subsystem tests in an unstructured terrestrial environment have been performed, with a full system test including multiple UGVs planned. This work reports on the current operating capability of subsystems in an outdoor terrestrial environment, and suggests the system-level validation test objectives for power grid formation.

Publication Title

2020 IEEE Aerospace Conference