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.

Bekker theory, Mars rover, Mobile robotics, Mobility analysis, Planetary exploration, Robot-environment interaction
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