Robotic mobility using extendable booms : design, control, and experimentation
- Space exploration drives us to push the boundaries of engineering, especially in the fields of robotics and autonomous systems. Innovations such as satellite communication, GPS technology, and advancements in materials science, originally developed for space missions, have significantly enhanced everyday life on Earth. As we aim to tackle increasingly ambitious space missions -- from the Lunar Gateway to Martian colonization to asteroid mining -- the mobility and manipulation requirements of our robotic platforms exceeds current capabilities. Many of these missions involve environments characterized by adverse gravity conditions and sparse footholds that impede traditional means of locomotion. The solution offered by this thesis, ReachBot, provides unique access to previously inaccessible terrain, broadening our capability to make new scientific discoveries and expanding humanity's reach into space. ReachBot realizes mobility in challenging terrain by combining the portability and maneuverability of small mobile robots with the long reach and high force capability of large robots. It does this by merging two technologies with little previous overlap: mobile manipulation robots and lightweight extendable booms. This thesis begins with a discussion of ReachBot's design, optimized via a trade study method to tailor an extendable-boom architecture to mission-specific parameters and objectives. We demonstrate this method by applying it to a Martian lava tube mission, resulting in a final configuration of booms, joints, and sensors that will provide a continuing example throughout the thesis. Subsequent chapters develop models to describe ReachBot's kinematics and dynamics, including a contact model that addresses uncertainties inherent to grasping in rocky terrain. We then incorporate these models into a robust motion planning algorithm to move ReachBot through its environment while maintaining grasp contact. In particular, we leverage optimal control techniques to generate trajectories that maximize the probability of successful execution. Finally, we validate ReachBot's system capabilities, in addition to our modeling and simulation approaches, with a series of hardware experiments ranging from low-fidelity prototypes using tape measures as deployable booms to a mission-realistic field test in the Mojave Desert. Collectively, this thesis lays the foundation for extensive future work on robotic systems using extendable booms; in particular, the tools used for design, modeling, and control will enable the development of extendable-boom robots built to explore complex adverse gravity environments previously inaccessible to robotic or human exploration.
|Type of resource
|electronic resource; remote; computer; online resource
|1 online resource.
|Newdick, Stephanie Nanette
|Degree committee member
|Degree committee member
|Stanford University, School of Engineering
|Stanford University, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
|Statement of responsibility
|Stephanie Nanette Newdick.
|Submitted to the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
|Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2023.
- © 2023 by Stephanie Nanette Newdick
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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