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Sensors 2016, 16(9), 1507; doi:10.3390/s16091507

The Effect of Assistive Anchor-Like Grousers on Wheeled Rover Performance over Unconsolidated Sandy Dune Inclines

1
Graduate School of Science and Engineering, College of Engineering, Ibaraki University, Hitachi 316-8511, Japan
2
Department of Intelligent Systems Engineering, College of Engineering, Ibaraki University, Hitachi 316-8511, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Dan Zhang
Received: 30 June 2016 / Revised: 12 September 2016 / Accepted: 12 September 2016 / Published: 15 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Robotics and Mechatronics Devices)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [10424 KB, uploaded 15 September 2016]   |  

Abstract

Typical rovers with wheels equipped with conventional grousers are prone to getting stuck in unconsolidated sandy dune inclines as the wheels tend to sink into the sand. This phenomenon is caused by the motion of the grouser through the sand during the latter half of the rotation, in which the grouser pushes the sand from underneath the wheel upwards and towards the backside of the wheel. This creates a space that the wheel can sink into. To minimize sand movement and subsequent sinkage, we propose the concept of using an “assistive grouser”, which is attached to the side of a conventional rover wheel. The assistive grouser is designed to be able to autonomously maintain a uniform angle relative to the rover body independent of the rotation of the wheels. Rotating the wheel causes the assistive grousers to automatically penetrate into the sand slope surface at a constant angle of attack, thereby acting as an anchor and providing traction for the wheel. Maintaining a uniform grouser angle as opposed to a rotating motion also assists in extracting the grouser out of the sand without moving the sand towards the back of the wheel. Moreover, the angle of the assistive grousers is held constantly by a single dedicated motor, meaning that the angle of the assistive grousers can be optimized to provide the least amount of sinkage for each slope angle. The experimental results showed that for slope angles of 0–30 degrees, the rover equipped with the proposed assistive grousers experienced significantly less sinkage and consumed less current compared to the rover equipped with conventional grousers. View Full-Text
Keywords: wheeled rover; traversing sandy dune incline; assistive grousers wheeled rover; traversing sandy dune incline; assistive grousers
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ibrahim, A.N.; Aoshima, S.; Shiroma, N.; Fukuoka, Y. The Effect of Assistive Anchor-Like Grousers on Wheeled Rover Performance over Unconsolidated Sandy Dune Inclines. Sensors 2016, 16, 1507.

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