Seminar: Developing a Subscale DuAxel Mobility Testbed at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 5th October, 3pm

When: Thursday 5th of October, 3pm AEST

Where: This seminar will be partially presented at the Rose Street Seminar area (J04) and partially online via Zoom. RSVP

Speaker: Matthew Suntup

Title: Developing a Subscale DuAxel Mobility Testbed at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory 


Efficient mobility is essential for rovers to explore scientifically significant sites on the Moon and Mars. However, the presence of steep and rugged terrains present challenges that restrict their access. DuAxel, a four-wheeled rover, addresses this challenge by deploying highly capable Axel rovers in addition to leveraging its own mobility capabilities.

Mini DuAxel is a 1:3 scale mobility testbed, designed based on the application of granular scaling laws. It emulates the motion capabilities of the full-scale DuAxel rover, incorporating three passive joints for steering and maintaining contact on uneven terrain and two active joints that allow for shifting of the centre of mass (CoM). Its smaller size allows for controlled testing in confined environments.

In this seminar, we delve into the detailed design, integration, and testing of this subscale rover. We focus on its role in validating an optimal tilting algorithm for shifting the CoM on sloped terrain and analyse the results derived from these experiments. Finally, we look back at the broader experience of developing a research rover at NASA JPL.


Matthew Suntup recently spent over 9 months at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a Visiting Student Researcher in the Mobility and Robotic Systems section. There he developed the Mini DuAxel rover while completing his ESIPS honours thesis with the University of Sydney, supervised by Salah Sukkarieh (USYD) and Issa Nesnas (NASA JPL, Caltech). He has since graduated with a B. Eng. Honours (Mechatronic Engineering) majoring in Space Engineering and a B. Sci. (Advanced) majoring in Physics and Computer Science.


Australian Centre for Robotics