0709 / Proposal of swarm rovers’ collaborative locomotion with expansion and contraction...

Paper presented at the 16th European-African Regional Conference of the ISTVS


Title: Proposal of swarm rovers’ collaborative locomotion with expansion and contraction mechanism for driving a loose slope

Authors: Kanta Fujimura, Daisuke Fujiwara, and Kojiro Iizuka

Abstract: NASA, China and the Soviet Union have done a mission to the Moon since the 20th century. Large-sized rovers have been used for the explanation of the Moon’s surface. However, some organizations, such as JAXA and NASA, plan to explore the Moon with a lot of small-sized rovers called swarm rovers. Swarm rovers will make the explanation more efficient. A simple two-wheel rover is planned for lunar swarm rovers, but a wheel-typed vehicle has a risk of a slip due to loose ground on the Moon. To solve this problem, we propose collaborative locomotion of two-wheel swarm rovers for traversing loose slope. In this locomotion, multiple rovers connect with each other. When one rover moves, the other rovers stop, and their wheels are fixed relative to the ground. Thus, the locomotion uses the traction of static wheels (non-rolling wheels). To confirm the effect of the proposed locomotion, this paper developed testbed rovers. The rover has magnets and a linear actuator; therefore, they can connect each other and perform locomotion like an inchworm. Furthermore, the authors implemented experiments of driving loose slope with 6 testbed rovers to evaluate the locomotion’s performance. The results suggested that the proposed locomotion could traverse higher loose slope than the normal traveling. Also, the amount of slip suppression increased as the number of connected rovers multiplied. However, once the number of rovers exceeded a certain number, the amount of slip suppression did not increase even if the number of rovers multiplied. In summary, this paper argues that swarm rovers can suppress a slip on loose slope via collaborative locomotion using a drawbar pull force of static wheels.

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