Fluid Powered Ropeway: Self-Propelled Probe Sliding Along Flexible Tube
Yotaro Mori, Hideyuki Tsukagoshi, and Ato Kitagawa
Tokyo Institute of Technology, 2-12-1 Ohokayama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-8552, Japan
This paper proposes a new method of locomotion called the “fluid powered ropeway.” It aims to collect information in dangerous buildings as rapidly and safely as possible. The device is mainly composed of a flexible flat tube and a gondola probe that is driven by fluid power using the buckling phenomenon of the tube. The big advantage is the gondola has the potential to traverse rocky terrains that wheeled and crawler-type vehicles have difficulty crossing over. This is because the drive force of the gondola is not against the ground but against the tube. In this paper, first, how to operate fluid powered ropeway in a disaster site is illustrated. Next, how to increase the drive force, how to enhance the ability of the gondola to travel over obstacles, and an analysis of the performance are discussed. Finally, the feasibility of the proposed method is verified through an experiment that uses the prototype developed.
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