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Computational and Experimental Approach to Understanding Legged Mobility in Micro Ground Vehicles

[+] Author Affiliations
Rudranarayan Mukherjee, Scott Moreland, Isaac Kim, Nikhil Lele, Stephen Goodwin, Ryan Houlihan, Aaron Parness

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA

Alice Wu, Mark Cutkosky

Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

Paper No. DETC2014-34835, pp. V006T10A005; 6 pages
  • ASME 2014 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 6: 10th International Conference on Multibody Systems, Nonlinear Dynamics, and Control
  • Buffalo, New York, USA, August 17–20, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4639-1
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


The army has a vision for using autonomous micro ground vehicles (MGV) for soldier support in the last 100 meters of operations in urban and natural environments. These MGVs are expected to typically fit in a human palm and weigh in the order of 30–50 grams. Robust mobility is a necessary condition to ensure operations. Given the severe challenge of size, weight and power (SWAP) of the MGVs, significant uncertainties currently remain in quantifying micro ground vehicle mobility. In this paper we describe a research methodology and representative results for understanding legged MGV mobility in different types of terrain. Our methodology is based on a synergy of novel experimental setup and high-fidelity computational methods. We report the use of a novel “single-leg” test rig that uses tactile sensors to measure ground interaction loads. We also report the use of high speed imaging and use of particle image velocimetry to understand soil deformation during legged interactions with terrain. Finally, we report on the use of multibody dynamics and High Performance Computing (HPC) based granular media simulations. This conference paper emphases more on the overall approach based on synergistic use of high fidelity modeling and experimental methods supported by representative results rather than presenting a detailed analyses of the results.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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