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FRINATEK-Fri mat.,naturv.,tek

Snake Locomotion in Challenging Environments

Awarded: NOK 13.0 mill.


The use of future service and security robots in e.g. search & rescue, inspection, and fire fighting operations will rely on their ability to maintain mobility in unknown and challenging environments. Snake robots carry the potential of contributing signi ficantly in such applications with their long, slender and flexible body that can provide robust propulsion skills in virtually any environment. Object manipulation skills are inherently present since they are essentially locomoting manipulator arms. The development and control of a snake robot is a highly complex task due to its flexible body with many degrees of freedom, and the potential range of application for snake robots is thus still unrealized. Inspired by biological snakes; external objects and irregularities can be beneficial to a snake robot since they represent push-points that the robot can curl around in order to push its body forward - i.e. perform obstacle-aided locomotion (OAL). The term was coined by the SLICE partners, and this inheren tly robust form of locomotion has been a strategic research focus of the group over recent years. The SLICE project will develop new methods and tools for obstacle-aided snake robot locomotion that will significantly advance the state of the art within ro bot locomotion. To this end, the project will target the three critical R&D challenges; develop new mathematical models of the interaction between snake robots and the environment, develop model-based feedback control strategies for OAL with provable stab ility properties based on these models, and introduce new force sensing capabilities for snake robots to be able to realize the new control strategies. The methods will be experimentally validated on existing snake robots. A broad national and internation al collaboration network will be further expanded, and synergies will strengthen strategic NTNU/SINTEF priority programs within robotics. The project results will be disseminated both internationally and nationally.

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FRINATEK-Fri mat.,naturv.,tek