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26.09.2016 aktualizacja 26.09.2016

Polish Mars rovers not only for aerospace industry

Although it is difficult to imagine that building Mars rovers will be a commercial venture, technologies used in these robots can be used every day - for example by the army, the police or the automobile industry. Rovers built by Polish students are among the world\'s best.

"Technologies used in rovers can be used in autonomous vehicles or self-driving cars" - said student of Kielce University of Technology Paweł Strączyński. In addition to space missions, robots may prove useful also in the army or the police, where they can be used, for example, to disarm dangerous explosives. "Vehicles can be used where human health could be directly threatened" - he explained.

The advantage of Polish vehicles that take part in international competitions of Mars rovers is simplicity. "Polish rovers were built in a very simple manner, often at low cost, which is not necessarily an advantage in the competition, but then it becomes a potential market advantage these solutions are immediately cost-competitive" - emphasised the vice-president of the European Space Foundation Mateusz Józefowicz .

He added that "simplicity proved to be a strength in this case, and this trend is maintained because the Polish rovers are following certain solutions - you can see that it is a specific type of mobile robots".

Polish students proved to be unrivalled in this sector. In European competitions of Mars rovers European Rover Challenge (ERC), which recently took place in Jasionka near Rzeszów, they took the first two places on the podium. ERC is a prestigious competition of Mars robots constructed by student teams. It is the European version of the University Rover Challenge held in the United States, an events already well-known in the scientific world.

"A few years ago, we managed to break a stereotype, according to which in Poland it is not worth it, not possible to carry out space projects, you can not win with the world in the fields of technology. One rover was built in spite of everything, then the next ones followed. Soon they began to win with the rovers in the US" - said Józefowicz. He added that it soon became apparent that the rovers were the "Polish specialization among students of robotics".

Mars rovers may also be a Polish calling card in the space industry. The space sector\'s importance for the global economy is increasing. According to the US Space Foundation, space sector\'s global turnover in 2015 amounted to approx. $ 330 billion. According to ESA estimates, the total governmental spending on space activities in Europe amounted to 8.3 billion euros in 2014, an increase of 9 percent compared to 2013.

According to the assumptions of Polish Space Strategy, in 2030 the turnover of Polish space industry companies should be at least 3 percent of the overall turnover of the industry in Europe. Its implementation is also intended to allow to use satellite data in the work of public administration, including spatial planning, air and water quality monitoring, and border protection.

Increase of competitiveness of the Polish space sector is expected to be achieved by its greater participation in the programs of the European Space Agency and space programs of the European Union. Another objective of the strategy is that the Polish space sector should be a supplier of satellite subsystems and not components.

PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland

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