Proceedings PaperPower And Propulsion Systems For Mobile Robotic Applications
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Choosing the best power and propulsion systems for mobile robotic land vehicle applications requires consideration of technologies. The electric power requirements for onboard electronic and auxiliary equipment include 110/220 volt 60 Hz ac power as well as low voltage dc power. Weight and power are saved by either direct dc power distribution, or high frequency (20 kHz) ac power distribution. Vehicle control functions are performed electronically but steering, braking and traction power may be distributed electrically, mechanically or by fluid (hydraulic) means. Electric drive is practical, even for small vehicles, provided that advanced electric motors are used. Such electric motors have demonstrated power densities of 3.1 kilowatts per kilogram with devices in the 15 kilowatt range. Electric motors have a lower torque, but higher power density as compared to hydraulic or mechanical transmission systems. Power density being comparable, electric drives were selected to best meet the other requirements for robotic vehicles. Two robotic vehicle propulsion system designs are described to illustrate the implementation of electric drive over a vehicle size range of 250-7500 kilograms.