Traversability Estimation Techniques for Improved Navigation of Tracked Mobile Robots
MetadataShow full item record
The focus of this dissertation is to improve autonomous navigation in unstructured terrain conditions, with specific application to unmanned casualty extraction in disaster scenarios. Robotic systems are being widely employed for search and rescue applications, especially in disaster scenarios. But a majority of these are focused solely on the search aspect of the problem. This dissertation proposes a conceptual design of a Semi-Autonomous Victim Extraction Robot (SAVER) capable of safe and effective unmanned casualty extraction, thereby reducing the risk to the lives of first responders. In addition, the proposed design addresses the limitations of existing state-of-the-art rescue robots specifically in the aspect of head and neck stabilization as well as fast and safe evacuation. One of the primary capabilities needed for effective casualty extraction is reliable navigation in unstructured terrain conditions. Autonomous navigation in unstructured terrain, particularly for systems with tracked locomotion mode involves unique challenges in path planning and trajectory tracking. The dynamics of robot-terrain interaction, along with additional factors such as slip experienced by the vehicle, slope of the terrain, and actuator limitations of the robotic system, need to be taken into consideration. To realize these capabilities, this dissertation proposes a hybrid navigation architecture that employs a physics engine to perform fast and accurate state expansion inside a graph-based planner. Tracked skid-steer systems experience significant slip, especially while turning. This greatly affects the trajectory tracking accuracy of the robot. In order to enable efficient trajectory tracking in varying terrain conditions, this dissertation proposes the use of an active disturbance rejection controller. The proposed controller is capable of estimating and counter acting the effects of slip in real-time to improve trajectory tracking. As an extension of the above application, this dissertation also proposes the use of support vector machine architecture to perform terrain identification, solely based on the estimated slip parameters. Combining all of the above techniques, an overall architecture is proposed to assist and inform tele-operation of tracked robotic systems in unstructured terrain conditions. All of the above proposed techniques have been validated through simulations and experiments in indoor and simple outdoor terrain conditions.
- Doctoral Dissertations