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Mantis: hybrid leg-wheel ground mobile robot

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Purpose ‐ The aim of the research is the development of a small-scale ground mobile robot for surveillance and inspection; the main design goals are mobility in indoor environments with step climbing ability, pivoting around a vertical axis and without oscillations for stable vision, mobility in unstructured environments, low mechanical and control complexity. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The proposed hybrid leg-wheel robot is characterized by a main body equipped with two actuated wheels and two praying Mantis rotating legs; a rear frame with two idle wheels is connected to the main body by a vertical revolute joint for steering; a second revolute joint allows the rear axle to roll. The geometrical synthesis of the robot has been performed using a nondimensional approach for generality's sake. Findings ‐ The experimental campaign on the first prototype confirms the fulfilment of the design objectives; the robot can efficiently walk in unstructured environments realizing a mixed wheeled-legged locomotion. Practical implications ‐ Thanks to the operative flexibility of Mantis in indoor and outdoor environments, the range of potential applications is wide: surveillance, inspection, monitoring of dangerous locations, intervention in case of terroristic attacks, military tasks. Originality/value ‐ Different from other robots of similar size, Mantis combines high speed and energetic efficiency, stable vision, capability of climbing over high steps, obstacles and unevenness.
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Keywords: Hybrid locomotion; Mobile robotics; Surveillance

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 14, 2014

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