Robots with alternative locomotion design can assist us in observing previously inaccessible environments.
Here are some examples of our prior work.
MARE: Marine Autonomous Robotic Explorer1
MARE is a low-cost autonomous airboat made from off-the-shelf components, and is capable of exploring turbulent open water environments. It's unique air-propelled design and hydro-dynamically stable catamaran hull structure makes MARE suitable for long-term deployment in all types of water bodies. Since it has no moving parts in contact with water, MARE can explore marine ecosystems while causing minimal underwater disturbance.
In this work we experimented with a system for monitoring marine environments by a team of heterogeneous robots, comprising of a fixed-wing aerial vehicle, an autonomous airboat, and a legged underwater robot. The goal was to receive a region of interest from a remote human supervisor, and then using the coordinated effort of the robot team, produce a concise summary consisting of a small number of images, which capture the visual diversity of the region of interest. The summary could then be used by a human supervisor to plan for further exploration.
Aqua Amphibious Robot
Aqua4 is an amphibious six legged robot capable of autonomous operation. Aqua's propulsion is based on six flippers that can provide motion in five degrees of freedom, which is more suitable for tasks requiring high maneuverability, such as coral reef exploration. By using a novel combination of gaits5, Aqua can move at various speeds while maintaining its orientation, despite external disturbances. Figure below shows various flipper poses for different desired swimming speeds.
Pictures showing the flippers' angle due to the action of the autopilot system, during one of the sea trials. (a) the robot is performing a heave-up maneuver to maintain depth and attitude at zero forward speed. (b) the robot is executing a combined heave up, pitch up and slow forward speed maneuver. (c) the robot is performing a pitch-up maneuver at high
Y. Girdhar, A. Xu, B. B. Dey, M. Meghjani, F. Shkurti, I. Rekleitis, and G. Dudek, “MARE: Marine Autonomous Robotic Explorer,” in Proceedings of the 2011 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2011, pp. 5048 – 5053. ↩
Y. Girdhar, A. Xu, F. Shkurti, J. Camilo, G. Higuera, M. Meghjani, P. Giguere, I. Rekleitis, and G. Dudek, “Monitoring Marine Environments using a Team of Heterogeneous Robots,” in RSS 2012 Workshop on Robotics for Environmental Monitoring, 2012. ↩
F. Shkurti, A. Xu, M. Meghjani, J. C. G. Higuera, Y. Girdhar, P. Giguere, B. B. Dey, J. Li, A. Kalmbach, C. Prahacs, K. Turgeon, I. Rekleitis, and G. Dudek, “Multi-Domain Monitoring of Marine Environments using a Heterogeneous Robot Team,” in Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2012, pp. 1747–1753. ↩
J. Sattar, G. Dudek, O. Chiu, I. Rekleitis, P. Giguere, A. Mills, N. Plamondon, C. Prahacs, Y. Girdhar, M. Nahon, and J.-P. Lobos, “Enabling autonomous capabilities in underwater robotics,” in 2008 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2008, pp. 3628–3634. ↩
P. Giguere, Y. Girdhar, and G. Dudek, “Wide-Speed Autopilot System for a Swimming Hexapod Robot,” in 2013 International Conference on Computer and Robot Vision, 2013, pp. 9–15. ↩