Visual and Tactile-Based Terrain Analysis Using a Cylindrical Mobile Robot

[+] Author and Article Information
Giulio Reina1

 University of Lecce, Department of Innovation Engineering, via per Arnesano, Lecce 73100, Italygiulio.reina@unile.it

Mario M. Foglia, Annalisa Milella, Angelo Gentile

 Politecnico of Bari, Department of Mechanical and Management Engineering, Viale Japigia 182, Bari 70126, Italy


Corresponding author.

J. Dyn. Sys., Meas., Control 128(1), 165-170 (Nov 19, 2005) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2168478 History: Received March 14, 2005; Revised November 19, 2005

Ground autonomous mobile robots have important applications, such as reconnaissance, patrol, planetary exploration, and military applications. In order to accomplish tasks on rough terrain, control and planning methods must consider the physical characteristics of the vehicle and of its environment. Failure to understand these characteristics could lead to vehicle endangement and consequent mission failure. This paper describes recent and current work at the Politecnico of Bari in collaboration with the University of Lecce in the area of deformable terrain mobility and sensing. A cylindrical mobile robot is presented and its rolling motion on terrain is studied from a theoretical and experimental prospect. A comprehensive model is developed taking into account the interaction of the vehicle with the terrain and the related dynamic ill effects, such as rolling resistance and slip, and it is experimentally validated. An unconventional application of the vehicle serving as a tactile sensor is discussed and experimental results are presented showing the effectiveness of the cylindrical mobile robot in estimating the properties of homogeneous, deformable terrain, which in turn can be used to assess the vehicle traversability.

Copyright © 2006 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

The cylindrical mobile robot: (a) functional scheme, (b) mechanical design of the spherical implementation

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Figure 2

Free-body diagram of the CMR

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Figure 3

Results from a typical simulation: (a) linear speed of the CMR, (b) swing angle of the internal WD

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Figure 4

Stress region at the vehicle-terrain interface, adapted from (6)

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Figure 5

The cylindrical prototype (a), and the multi-terrain testbed (b)

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Figure 6

Plot of the vehicle’s speed as derived by the experimental and analytical data

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Figure 7

Comparison of the model with experimental data for steady-state motion

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Figure 8

Correlation of ft with the vehicle’s rolling velocity for different terrains




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