Out of Sight: Remote Vehicle Activity

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In this robotics activity, learners drive a remote-controlled car through a course to learn the challenges faced while trying to operate a planetary rover. They use measurement, geometry and problem-solving skills to move through the course. This activity simulates the real FIDO field tests that took place in the Mojave Desert in 1999. This resource includes information about the FIDO Rover as well as Mars Rovers websites.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Remote control car for each 4 to 6 member team (borrow from students)
  • Measuring devices (meter stick or tape measure - Can change units to yards) - 2 per team
  • Rocks or other marking devices to set up 'way points' in which to drive car
  • Background information on planetary rover teleoperation
  • Student calibration and mission planning sheets
  • Stopwatches
  • Compasses
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Pencils
  • Masking tape for marking starting lines
  • Video camera and monitor (optional)
  • Calculators (optional)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Probes, Satellites and Spacecraft
    • Solar System
      • The Planets
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Aerospace Engineering
    • Technology
      • Transportation
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Geometry
      • Plane Geometry
    • Measurement
      • Circles
    • Number and Operations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Impacts of Technology
      • Technology and History
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results
    • Science as a Career

Informal Categories

  • Toys
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • Public domain, ,