Our long-term goal is one of designing land-based vehicles to provide enhanced uneven-terrain locomotion capabilities. In this paper, we examine and evaluate candidate articulated leg-wheel subsystem designs for use in such vehicle systems. The leg-wheel subsystem designs under consideration consist of disk wheels attached to the chassis through an articulated linkage containing multiple lower-pair joints. Our emphasis is on creating a design that permits the greatest motion flexibility between the chassis and wheel while maintaining the smallest degree-of-freedom (DOF) within the articulated chain. We focus our attention on achieving two goals: (i) obtaining adequate ground clearance by designing the desired/feasible motions of the wheel axle, relative to the chassis, using methods from kinematic synthesis; and (ii) reducing overall actuation requirements by a judicious mix of structural equilibration design and spring assist. This process is examined in detail in the context of two candidate single-degree-of-freedom designs for the articulated-leg-wheel subsystems—a coupled-serial-chain configuration and a four-bar configuration. We considered the design synthesis of planar variants of the two candidate designs surmounting a representative obstacle profile while supporting a set of end-effector loads and highlight the key benefits in the presented results.
Kinetostatic Design Considerations for an Articulated Leg-Wheel Locomotion Subsystem
Jun, S. K., White, G. D., and Krovi, V. N. (November 22, 2005). "Kinetostatic Design Considerations for an Articulated Leg-Wheel Locomotion Subsystem." ASME. J. Dyn. Sys., Meas., Control. March 2006; 128(1): 112–121. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.2168481
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