Paper: Wheeled Rovers with Posable Hubs for Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Exploration

September 2nd, 2020

Space exploration and work such as search and rescue or resource mining is dangerous and often unsuited to manned platforms due to the associated dangers and costs.

As a result unmanned wheeled rovers dominate the sectors as they exhibit a lower cost of transport to other legged systems. However, wheels have limited debogging and self-recovery ability if they become stuck.

We propose a Posable Hub, where using electric linear actuators instead of a rigid spoke structure, the wheel centre hub can be actively manipulated. We construct a four wheeled rover with Posable Hubs and perform experiments on debogging, chassis levelling for sloped and uneven terrains and generating locomotion with a failed drive motor by converting gravitational potential energy into rotational motion.

Our experiments compare the results to classical wheels and validate the superiority of our Posable Hubs for extreme and unstructured terrains such as environments experienced in terrestrial and extraterrestrial exploration.

FIGURE 5: Rover in a terrain box filled with sand and gravel used for initial experiments with debogging.

T. Hojnik, R. A. Dungavell, P. D. Flick and J. M. Roberts, “Wheeled Rovers with Posable Hubs for Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Exploration,” inĀ IEEE Access, doi: 10.1109/ACCESS.2020.3018429.

Download the full paper here.

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