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Dynamo: A Model Transition Framework for Dynamic Stability Control and Body Mass Manipulation

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Final technical rept. 24 Jan 2011-24 Jan 2012

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Ground robots, such as the iRobot PackBot, have saved hundreds of lives in Iraq and Afghanistan by helping soldiers safely inspect and disarm improvised explosive devices IEDs Figure 1. However, even state-of-the-art robot control systems fail to approach the adaptive, versatile mobility demonstrated by humans and animals on an everyday basis. In order to extend the applicability of ground robots to a wider range of missions, fundamental advances are needed to provide robust mobility in unstructured, dynamic, natural environments. One of the common criticisms of currently deployed UGVs is that they are too slow. The typical standoff distance for an EOD team investigating an IED is 200-500 meters. At top speed 5.8 mph, a PackBot would take over 3 minutes to travel downrange to an IED 500 meters away. Though a defensive perimeter is setup around the EOD teams, 3 minutes is long enough to setup and deploy mortars or for snipers to take action. Reducing this time window is critical. The Robotic Systems Joint Project Office RSJPO has identified the need for faster UGVs as a top priority for Army and Marine Corps warfighters Jackowski 10. We envision UGVs that can travel 30-45 mph or faster which would enable their use in rapid reconnaissance and high-optempo infantry assault missions. At 45 mph, a high-speed UGV could reach an IED 500 meters away in just 25 seconds. However, high-speed UGVs are difficult to control manually, particularly on the diret or sand surfaces that are common on the battlefield. On these surfaces, the vehicle can ski or lose traction while cornering and can become airborne from even modest terrain variation.

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  • Cybernetics
  • Surface Transportation and Equipment

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