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Proceedings Paper

SimUGV: a simulator for analyzing energy dynamics and locomotion for unmanned ground vehicles (UGV)
Author(s): Aakash K. Sinha; Jyoti Vashishtha
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Paper Abstract

In the area of research on unmanned ground vehicles (UGV), one major problem is limited operating duration of robotics vehicles due to energy losses. There is a need for systematic analysis of locomotion and energy dynamics, which would enable an efficient design of the vehicle. For this purpose, a multifunction simulator tool is required which can read several input variables that describe the vehicle and compute detailed analysis of its energy dynamics. This research presents a generic locomotion simulator for a UGV (SimUGV). SimUGV's goal is to help vehicle designers develop efficient vehicles by optimizing design variables to minimize the energy losses for the vehicle. SimUGV has a powerful GUI interface which allows users to compare multiple test runs and visualize the data in a variety of ways. To illustrate the capabilities of the simulator, we present a case study conducted on the energy dynamics of a skid steering robotic vehicle. Two major constituent components of energy losses/consumption for a skid steering vehicle are - losses in skid steer turning, and losses in rolling. Using SimUGV, we present a detailed energy loss analysis of the vehicle's different turning modes; elastic mode steering, half-slip steering, skid turns, low radius turns, and zero radius turns. Each of the energy loss components is modeled from physics in terms of the design variables. The effect of design variables on the total energy losses/consumption is then studied using simulated data for different types of surfaces i.e. hard surfaces and muddy surfaces. Finally, we make suggestions about efficient vehicle design choices in terms of the design variables.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 May 2006
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 6228, Modeling and Simulation for Military Applications, 62280M (22 May 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.668462
Show Author Affiliations
Aakash K. Sinha, iRobot Corp. (United States)
Jyoti Vashishtha, Colorado School of Mines (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6228:
Modeling and Simulation for Military Applications
Kevin Schum; Alex F. Sisti, Editor(s)

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