Control of reconfigurability and navigation of a wheel-legged robot based on active vision
Brooks, Douglas Antwonne
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The ability of robotic units to navigate various terrains is critical to the advancement of robotic operation in real world environments. Next generation robots will need to adapt to their environment in order to accomplish tasks that are either too hazardous, too time consuming, or physically impossible for human-beings. Such tasks may include accurate and rapid explorations of various planets or potentially dangerous areas on planet Earth. This research investigates a navigation control methodology for a wheel-legged robot based on active vision. The method presented is designed to control the reconfigurability of the robot (i.e. control the usage of the wheels and legs), depending upon the obstacle/terrain, based on perception. Surface estimation for robot reconfigurability is implemented using a region growing method and a characterization and traversability assessment generated from camera data. As a result, a mathematical approach that directs necessary navigation behavior is implemented to control robot mobility. The hybrid wheeled-legged rover possesses a four-legged or six-legged walking system as well as a four-wheeled mobility system.