From Turtle to Leo Rover – Learn Our Story

How did it all begin? You're in the right place to find out. Here, you'll learn about our journey from Turtle to Leo Rover.

May 26, 2023


Aleksandra Szczepaniak

Every business starts somewhere, right? We were no different. In this article, you’re going to discover the journey from Turtle to Leo Rover and how this robotic platform came to be in the first place. Let’s dive right in ;).

How did it all start?

Here's a video from the 2018 Startup Demoday where Szymon from the team talked about the idea, the f-ups of the last years (back when it was Turtle instead of Leo Rover).

As we can learn from the video, in July 2013, Szymon, Julia, and Aleksander – the founders of Leo Rover (or rather Turtle back then) – participated in the URC – an international robotics competition for college students organized by The Mars Society. The event, which annually takes place in the middle of the southern Utah desert, served as an important milestone for their journey.

The goal of the competition was to find rover prototypes capable of supporting human exploration of Mars. Szymon's team took second place and, the following year, they emerged as winners in the twin competition – European Rover Challenge. The valuable knowledge and insight they gained during these competitions marked the beginning for Turtle.

Szymon goes on to talk about the team's development process, the purposes for which their rovers were used by customers, and their potential applications in the future.

Turtle Rover outline

Turtle Rover
Turtle's logo on the robot's chassis

Now, let's dive into the rover itself. Turtle was a robust and resilient rover chassis suited to extreme environments. The rover could be converted into anything as it was extremely easy to combine with a wide array of other components. The only requirement? The right hardware and software support to unlock its full potential.

Turtle rover in the forest
Turtle driving in the forest

Interestingly, Turtle was the first affordable robot on the market that enabled individuals and even startups to prototype within their own environment.

Keeping both software and hardware open-source was significant to us. We designed the rover to be robust, waterproof, and usable outdoors in severe environments. Turtle didn’t stop there – we addressed our customers’ ideas all the way from concept-proofing, prototyping, and to entering the market.

From Turtle to Leo Rover

So, how did Turtle become Leo Rover? The choice of the robot’s name was far from accidental. It all started in 2019. After having participated  in CES that year, we noticed that people were confusing Turtle Rover with Turtlebot. Realizing the similarity between the two names, we decided to make a change in ours. With significant physical updates to the rover already implemented, and being a small company at that time, the transition was feasible. After brainstorming new names, we settled on Leo, inspired by Leonardo – the fearless leader from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The point was to keep the turtle vibes and this is how the name Leo Rover was born.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

We're improving for you!

So, that's our story – the beginning of Turtle. Like with everything, the road to a successful product was a bit bumpy at first. But we’ve learned from our mistakes, gained new perspectives and experience and we’re constantly improving our product which is now known as Leo Rover. And remember that our team is always at your disposal, so if you need anything, just let us know at, but you can always use some other of the support channels we provide. Check them out here.


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