Terrain identification research focuses on using small, lightweight robots to classify, characterize, and identify terrain properties necessary to predict mobility of these vehicles on the terrain. Terramechanics models for heavy vehicles are well understood, but similar comprehensive models do not exist for lightweight (sub-500 kg) vehicles. We are developing terrain models and modeling tools that can be used to asses mobility on a given terrain, while avoiding maneuvers that cause immobilization. We seek to integrate terrain identification and traction/stability control of the robots in order to allow autonomous or remote control of these robots at the maximum attainable speeds and accelerations achievable on the terrain.
Faculty contact: Laura Ray