Title: Simulation and experimental validation of a modified terramechanics model for small-wheeled vehicles

Authors: G. Meirion-Griffith; M. Spenko

Addresses: Mechanical, Materials and Aerospace Engineering Department, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL, USA ' Mechanical, Materials and Aerospace Engineering Department, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL, USA

Abstract: The ability to model and predict vehicle performance over deformable terrains, which is typically done using terramechanics, is important for planetary exploration, military operations, and off-road vehicle design. This paper details the development of a new vehicle-terrain model that specifically addresses some of the limitations of traditional terramechanics when applied to Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) with small wheel diameters. Assumptions and limitations of the classical Bekker terramechanics model for wheeled locomotion are discussed. A novel pressure-sinkage model that was recently developed by the authors is detailed and shown to improve sinkage and compaction resistance models significantly. These models are implemented in a numerical simulation, which is used to predict the tractive performance of an experimental UGV. Field tests carried out on sandy terrain are described, and the results are used to validate the simulated predictions.

Keywords: traction; UGVs; unmanned ground vehicles; Bekker theory; terramechanics; small wheels; pressure-sinkage models; vehicle-terrain modelling; small-wheeled vehicles; vehicle performance; deformable surfaces; wheeled locomotion; numerical simulation; sandy terrain; sinkage resistance; compaction resistance; soil compaction.

DOI: 10.1504/IJVD.2014.058499

International Journal of Vehicle Design, 2014 Vol.64 No.2/3/4, pp.153 - 169

Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021

Published online: 31 Dec 2013 *

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