On Improving the Mobility of Vehicles in Uneven Terrain

Siddharth Sanan*    Nageshwar Rao**    K. Madhava Krishna    Sartaj Singh***   

IIIT Hyderabad, India   

This paper studies the problem of traversing a rough terrain by wheeled vehicles. Here rough terrain implies terrain which is geometrically not ideal. The criterion for mobility of a wheeled vehicle in any terrain is formally developed, providing insights into the mechanical structure requirements of the vehicle. A vehicle structure with an actively articulated suspension is found as a solution to improved rough terrain mobility. The contact forces of the vehicle with the surface being traversed are identified as the critical factor in determining the traversability of the surface. Hence a control strategy involving the control of the contact forces (normal and traction) is proposed. The key feature of the locomotion strategy, thus developed, is that it provides a solution involving dynamics of the main body for improving mobility in rough terrain.