The use of autonomous rovers for planetary exploration is crucial to traverse long distances and perform new discoveries on other planets. One of the most important issues is related to the interaction between the rover wheel and terrain, which would help to save energy and even avoid getting entrapped. The use of reconfigurable rovers with different locomotion modes has demonstrated improvement of traction and energy consumption. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to determine the best locomotion mode during the rover traverse, based on simple parameters, which would be obtained from propioceptive sensors. For this purpose, interaction of different terrains have been modelled and analysed with the ExoTeR, a scale prototype rover of the European ExoMars 2020 mission. This rover is able to perform, among others, the wheel walking locomotion mode, which has been demonstrated to improve traction in different situations. Currently, it is difficult to decide the instant time the rover has to switch from this locomotion mode to another. This paper also proposes a novel method to estimate the slip ratio, useful for deciding the best locomotion mode. Finally, results are obtained from an immersive simulation environment. It shows how each locomotion mode is suitable for different terrains and slopes and the proposed method is able to estimate the slip ratio.
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