How to build a rover?

See what you need to create your own robot from scratch.

May 15, 2023


Aleksandra Szczepaniak

Leo Rover robot

Have you ever wondered what you need to build a rover? We've put together a short guide that will enable you to get a grasp of what to have and do to make your very own robot. Buckle up and read on ;).

Locomotion types

Leo Rover's wheel
The Leo Rover's wheel

Every rover needs to move somehow, doesn’t it? There are various locomotion types used in robots. The most common ones are the following:

  • wheels, 
  • legs, 
  • tracks. 

A lot of factors need to be taken into consideration when choosing the locomotion solution for your rover, such as maneuverability, stability, controllability, efficiency, terrain conditions and many others. Make sure the locomotion type you’ve chosen for your rover is suited for the robot’s purpose.

See pros and cons of the most popular locomotion types used in robots here.


Leo Rover's wheel motors
The Leo Rover's wheel motors

If you’re building your rover, apart from the locomotion types such as wheels, legs, or tracks themselves, you’re going to need motors to set the rover into motion. There are various types of motors for robotics. The ones that are mostly used in mobile rovers are as follows:

Believe it or not, a proper motor plays a very important role in the overall performance of your vehicle. Read this article to see what to pay attention to when choosing the right motor for a wheeled rover.

Motor controller

Once you've selected motors for your robot, you’ll need something to control it. This is where a motor controller comes in. It will coordinate the performance of your rover’s motors. There’s a number of motor controllers available on the market but you can also experiment with other devices to make them serve this purpose. For example, writing a simple controller for an Arduino will make the board function as a motor controller. Another option could be using a Dynamixel servo as a driver along with a U2D2 controller.

In the Leo Rover, the function of the motor controller serves LeoCore – our customized electronics board.

The LeoCore controller board
The LeoCore controller board


Arduino DUE and Raspberry Pi 4
Arduino DUE and Raspberry Pi 4 boards

Another important step is to select the right controller board or single-board computer (SBC) for your robot as it will interface with the computer and control the rover’s functionalities.  

There are quite a lot of various microcontrollers for this purpose you can find on the market. Some of the major ones that you can use in your project are these:

  • Arduino (there’s no operating system on the board),
  • Raspberry Pi,
  • UP Board,
  • Nvidia Jetson.

Go to this article to learn which Arduino board will be best for your project.


Any electronic device calls for a power source to run. So, obviously, you need to equip your robot with a proper battery that will provide it with the right current and voltage levels.

For this purpose, you can use different batteries, such as: 

  • Li-ion batteries,
  • Li-poly batteries,
  • Gel batteries (for bigger rovers).

An option for powering your rover could also be batteries from electronic tools. That's how the University of Luxembourg boosted their Leo Rovers' battery capacity for the Space Resources Challenge – a space and robotics competition. Check it out here.


Every robot needs a body as it will serve to house the electronics, attach wheels or other locomotion type, as well as motors to it. So, it’s significant that your rover has it too. It can be of any size, shape, and material – whatever you see fit for your device and its purpose. There are different chassis that you can buy. Also, feel free to construct your very own chassis with the use of, for example, aluminum profiles such as Bosch Rexroth.


Leo Rover's camera
The Leo Rover's camera

Adding a camera to your robot will enable you to see what it „sees”. And once you have a camera on your rover, there’s plenty of different things to use your rover for. You can make it, I don’t know, follow a line, an ARTag, or simply detect an object. And what do you know? These very 3 features are contained in Leo Examples – a software package for stock Leo Rovers ;).


You can expand your robot’s possibilities even more. And this is where sensors come in handy. There are many sensors for different purposes. With a proper device, your rover will be able to, for instance, measure distance. An example of such a device is LiDAR, about which you can read here.

RP LiDAR A2 M8 available in our store

Develop your robot with us!

Now you (hopefully) have a basic understanding of what steps you need to take to make your own rover. Roll up your sleeves and get to work :). We’re always happy to help you, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us for guidance when developing your robot.

Shoot us a message at

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