Our Story – Turtle Rover team

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.

September 20, 2022


Szymon Dzwończyk

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)

How did it all start?

As we can learn from the video, in July 2013 Szymon, Julia, and Aleksander – the founders of Leo Rover – participated in the URC – an international robotics competition for college students organized by The Mars Society. The event took place, as it anually does, in the middle of the desert of southern Utah. 

The goal of the competition was to find prototypes that would be able to support human exploration of Mars. Szymon's team came in second place and the following year they won the twin European Rover Challenge. Valuable knowledge and insight they had gained were the beginning for Turtle.

Szymon goes on to say about how the team had been developing, for what purposes their rovers were used by customers, and how they could be used in the future.

Turtle Rover outline

Turtle Rover
Turtle's logo engraved on the robot's body

Now, a bit about the rover itself. Turtle was a tough, resilient rover chassis that was 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, provided there was hardware and software to support it.

Turtle rover in the forest
Turtle driving in the forest

Interestingly, Turtle was the first affordable robot on the market which enabled individuals and even startups to prototype in one’s 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 entering the market.

From Turtle to Leo Rover

So how did Turtle become Leo Rover? The name choice was hardly accidental. It all started in 2019. After having participated in CES that year, we discovered that people started to mistake Turtle Rover for Turtlebot. It was then that we realized that the two brands were too similar to each other in terms of their names. We decided to change ours and it was a good time to do so because we had implemented quite a lot of physical changes into the rover anyway, plus, at that point, our company was small enough for the costs not to be particularly huge. We began coming up with new names for the rover and eventually opted for Leo, from Leonardo – the first Ninja Turtle. The point was to keep the spirit of a turtle, turning the rover into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle – Leo.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
credit: gamesradar.com

We're improving for you!

So, that's our story – the beginning of Turtle Rover. 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 Leo Rover team is always at your disposal, so if you need anything, just let us know at contact@fictionlab.pl :)

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