Planetary exploration through the deployment of robotic rovers on planetary surfaces such as mars imposes unique constraints on mobile robotics. In particular, I examine the issue of mobility across a hostile planetary surface as an oft-neglected aspect of robotic autonomy. I compare the traction performance of a wheeled concept (the rocker-bogie springless system adopted on Sojourner), a tracked vehicle concept and a novel concept called the elastic loop mobility system (ELMS). I highlight some limitations of the Bekker theory analysis used here in the determination of mobility characteristics of any vehicle locomotion system.

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Robotics and Autonomous Systems
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Ellery, A. (2005). Environment-robot interaction - The basis for mobility in planetary micro-rovers. In Robotics and Autonomous Systems (Vol. 51, pp. 29–39). doi:10.1016/j.robot.2004.08.007