Leg-circle transformable wheel for improved runnability of a lunar rover

Ayako Torisaka, Kohei Eguchi, Satoshi Miura, Victor Parque, Tomoyuki Miyashita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper proposes a wheel with a deployable leg that can change the apparent wheel radius to improve the runnability of a rover traversing a lunar surface covered with regolith. The driving force of the wheel was formulated according to terramechanics, and relations for the changing driving force with the different configurations were clarified. The simulated driving forces with the original wheel configuration and extended leg configuration were compared in a single-wheel experiment, and the results confirmed that the proposed extendable leg system exhibited a higher driving force than the original circular wheel. With this system, the rover can use the original wheel state for flat ground surfaces that do not require a high driving force and then switch to the proposed extendable leg system when a high driving force is required, such as escaping from local concave ground or climbing on steep slope. The proposed system is potentially applicable to efficiently traversing irregular surfaces not only on the Moon but also on other planets.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Lunar rover
  • terramechanics
  • transformable wheel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering

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