Mechanism and Control of Connecting Robot Moving in Narrow and Irregular Terrain
Takahiro Doi, Motohiro Okumura, Tomoki Harada, and Yuto Mitsuma
Kanazawa Institute of Technology
7-1 Ohgigaoka, Nonoichi, Ishikawa 921-8812, Japan
Japan is located in a seismic zone and is hence affected by earthquakes, which necessitates frequent disaster rescue activities. It is difficult for humans to access the site of an earthquake with collapsed buildings for carrying out rescue operations. The use of various mobile robots to undertake such rescue activities in place of humans has been proposed and studied to cope with such situations. Disaster sites covered with debris contain narrow spaces and irregular terrains, where robots that can change its size and rigidity should be able to move more effectively. In this study, we propose a robot system, separated into multiple robot units and variable in size and rigidity by connecting and separating them, so that it can adapt itself to a diversity of environments. To realize the proposed robot system in both mechanical and control aspects, we prototyped a group of robot units that can move as well as get connected and separated. We evaluated its thrust and ability to traverse irregular terrains as well as the automatic connection of robot units using cameras and markers.
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