JRM Vol.24 No.4 pp. 629-641
doi: 10.20965/jrm.2012.p0629


Design, Simulation, Fabrication and Testing of a Bio-Inspired Amphibious Robot with Multiple Modes of Mobility

Alexander S. Boxerbaum*1, Matthew A. Klein*1, Jeffery E. Kline*2,
Stuart C. Burgess*3, Roger D. Quinn*1, Richard Harkins*2,
and Ravi Vaidyanathan*2, *4

*1Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA

*2US Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, USA

*3University of Bristol, Bristol, UK

*4Imperial College London, London, UK

January 18, 2012
May 2, 2012
August 20, 2012
biologically inspired robotics, legged vehicles, field robotics, amphibious operation, advanced mobility

Surf-zone environments represent an extreme challenges to robot operation. A robot that autonomously navigates rocky terrain, constantly changing underwater currents, hard-packed moist sand and loose dry sand characterizing this environment, would have significant utility in a range of defence and civilian missions. The study of animal locomotion mechanisms can elucidate specific movement principles that can be applied to address these demands. In this work, we report on the design and optimization of a biologically inspired amphibious robot for deployment and operation in an ocean beach environment. We specifically report a new design fusing a range of insectinspired passive mechanisms with active autonomous control architectures to seamlessly adapt to and traverse a range of challenging substrates both in and out of the water, and the design and construction of SeaDog, a proof-of-concept amphibious robot built for navigating rocky or sandy beaches and turbulent surf zones. The robot incorporates a layered hull and chassis design that is integrated into a waterproof Explorer Case in order to provide a large, protected payload in an easy-to-carry package. It employs a rugged drivetrain with four wheel-legs and a unique tail design and actuation strategy to aid in climbing, swimming and stabilization. Several modes of terrestrial and aquatic locomotion are suggested and tested versus range of mobility metrics, including data obtained in simulation and hardware testing. A waterproofing strategy is also tested and discussed, providing a foundation for future generations of amphibious mobile robots.

Cite this article as:
Alexander S. Boxerbaum, Matthew A. Klein, Jeffery E. Kline,
Stuart C. Burgess, Roger D. Quinn, Richard Harkins, and
and Ravi Vaidyanathan, “Design, Simulation, Fabrication and Testing of a Bio-Inspired Amphibious Robot with Multiple Modes of Mobility,” J. Robot. Mechatron., Vol.24, No.4, pp. 629-641, 2012.
Data files:
  1. [1] G. J. Cornish, “U.S. Naval Mine Warfare Strategy: Analysis of the Way Ahead,” U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, PA, 2003.
  2. [2] C. Bernstein, M. Connolly, M. Gavrilash, D. Kucik, and S. Threatt, “Demonstration of Surf-Zone Crawlers: Results from AUV Fest 01,” Surf Zone Crawler Group, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City, FL, 2001.
  3. [3] R. R. Murphy, “Trial by fire – activities of the rescue robots at the world trade center from 11-21 September 2001,” IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine, Vol.11, No.3, pp. 50-61, 2004.
  4. [4] A. Martin-Alvarez, W. De Peuter, J. Hillebrand, P. Putz, A. Matthyssen, and J. F. de Weerd, “Walking robots for planetary exploration missions,” 2nd World Automation Congress (WAC ’96), Montpellier, France, May 27-30, 1996.
  5. [5] J. Ayers, “Underwater Walking,” Arthropod Structure & Development, Vol.33, No.3, pp. 347-360, 2004.
  6. [6] C. Prahacs, A. Saunders, M. Smith, D. McMordie, and M. Buehler, “Towards Legged Amphibious Mobile Robotics,” in The Inaugural Canadian Design Engineering Network (CDEN) Design Conf., 2004.
  7. [7] A. Crespi, A. Badertscher, A. Guignard, and A. J. Ijspeert, “Amphibot I: an amphibious snake-like robot,” Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Vol.50, pp. 163-175, 2005.
  8. [8] C. Georgidas, A. German, A. Hogue, H. Liu, C. Prahacs, A. Ripsman, R. Sim, L.-A. Torres, P. Zhang, M. Buehler, G. Dudek, M. Jenkin, and E. Milios, “AQUA: An Aquatic Walking Robot,” in Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Systems (UUVS), Southampton, UK, 2004.
  9. [9] T. Allen, R. D. Quinn, R. J. Bachmann, and R. E. Ritzmann, “Abstracted biological principles applied with reduced actuation improve mobility of legged vehicles,” in IEEE Int. Conf. on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2003.
  10. [10] J. Ayers, J. Witting, C. Wilbur, P. Zavraky, N. M. Gruer, and D. Massa, “Biomimetic Robots for Shallow Water Mine Countermeasures,” in NPS Mine Countermeasures Symposium Monterey, CA, USA, 2000.
  11. [11] R. Harkins, T. Dunbar, A. S. Boxerbaum, R. J. Bachmann, R. D. Quinn, S. C. Burgess, and R. Vaidyanathan, “Confluence of Active and Passive Control Mechanisms Enabling Autonomy and Terrain Adaptability for Robots in Variable Environments,” IAENG Trans. on Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Vol.1, C. Douglas, W. Grundfest, and L. Schruben (Eds.), pp. 138-149, IEEE Press, 2009. ISBN 978-1-4244-3545-6
  12. [12] R. D. Quinn, G. M. Nelson, R. E. Ritzmann, R. J. Bachmann, D. A. Kingsley, J. T. Offi, and T. J. Allen, “Parallel Strategies For Implementing Biological Principles Into Mobile Robots,” Int. J. of Robotics Research (IJRR), Vol.22, pp. 169-186, 2003.
  13. [13] M. Guarnieri, P. Debenest, T. Inoh, K. Takita, H. Masuda, R. Kurazume, E. Fukushima, and S. Hirose, “HELIOS Carrier: Tail-like Mechanism and Control Algorithm for Stable Motion in Unknown Environments,” Proc. of the 2009 IEEE Int. Conf. on Robotics and Automation (ICRA ’09), Kobe, Japan, 2009.
  14. [14] P. A. Dunker, W. A. Lewinger, A. J. Hunt, and R. D. Quinn, “A biologically inspired robot for lunar in-situ resource utilization,” Proc. of the IEEE Int. Conf. on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS ’09), St. Louis, MO, USA, 2009.
  15. [15] J. M. Morrey, B. G. A. Lambrecht, A. D. Horchler, R. E. Ritzmann, and R. D. Quinn, “Highly Mobile and Robust Small QuadrupedRobots,” Proc. of the IEEE Int. Conf. on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS ’03), Vol.1, pp. 82-87, 2003, Las Vegas, United States, 2003.
  16. [16] A. J. Hunt, “A biologically inspired robot for assistance in urban search and rescue,” M.S. thesis, Dept. of Mech. Eng., Case Western Reserve Univ., Cleveland, OH, USA, 2010.
  17. [17] A. Boxerbaum, R. J. Bachmann, R. Harkins, R. D. Quinn, S. C. Burgess, and R. Vaidyanathan, “Design, Testing, and Control of a Highly Mobile Insect-Inspired Autonomous Robot in a Beach Environment,” Int. J. of Design and Nature, Vol.4, No.4, pp. 1-18, 2009.
  18. [18] M. Eich, F. Grimminger, and F. Kirchner, “A Versatile Stair- Climbing Robot for Search and Rescue Applications,” in IEEE Int. Workshop on Safety, Security and Rescue Robotics (SSRR ’08), Sendai, Japan, 2008.
  19. [19] R. J. Bachmann, F. Boria, R. Vaidyanathan, P. Ifju, and R. D. Quinn, “A Biologically-Inspired Micro Sensor Platform Capable of Aerial and Terrestrial Locomotion,” Mechanism and Machine Theory (MMT), Vol.44, pp. 512-526, 2009.
  20. [20] H. F. Jenson, “Variable buoyancy system metric,” M.S. thesis, Dept. of Mech. Eng., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, USA, 2009.
  21. [21] A. S. Boxerbaum, M. A. Klein, R. Bachmann, R. D. Quinn, R. Harkins, and R. Vaidyanathan “Design of a semi-autonomous hybrid mobility surf-zone robot,” Proc. of the IEEE Int. Conf. on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM ’09), Singapore, 2009.
  22. [22] U. Saranli, M. Buehler, and D. E. Koditschek, “RHex: A Simple and Highly Mobile Hexapod Robot,” The Int. J. of Robotics Research, Vol.20, pp. 616-631, 2001.
  23. [23] A. Boxerbaum, J. Oro, G. Peterson, and R. D. Quinn, “The Latest Generation Whegs Robot Features a Passive-Compliant Body Joint,” in IEEE Int. Conf. on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2008.
  24. [24] S. D. Herbert, A. Drenner, and N. Papanikolopoulos, “Loper: A quadruped-hybrid stair climbing robot,” in IEEE Int. Conf. on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2008.

*This site is desgined based on HTML5 and CSS3 for modern browsers, e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera.

Last updated on Mar. 05, 2021