Terramechanics-based analysis and traction control of a lunar/planetary rover

Kazuya Yoshida, Toshinobu Watanabe, Noriyuki Mizuno, Genya Ishigami

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents analysis of traction mechanics and control of a lunar/planetary rover based on the models obtained from terramechanics. A case study has been conducted for a rover test bed to negotiate a slope of loose soil such as regolith that covers most of lunar surface. The tire traction force is modeled as a function of the vertical load and slip ratio of the wheel. Bekker's terramechanic formulae are employed to derive an improved practical model that calculates net traction force, referred to as Drawbar Pull, with a reasonable precision. Experiments are carried out in two phases. First, the physical behavior of a wheel on loose soil is observed using a single-wheel test bed, then the empirical parameters of the tire and soil are identified. Second, the slope climbing capability is studied by using a rover test bed that has independently driven four wheels. The traction margin and slip margin are defined to be used in a traction control. In the slope experiment, it turned out that the climbing capability was saturated at 14 degrees due to the lack of enough driving torque in wheels. But theoretical investigation suggests that this is not the limitation of terrain trafficability and climbing capability can be improved by increased driving torque and proper load distribution.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRobotics
Subtitle of host publicationRecent Advances in Research and Applications
EditorsShinichi Yuta, Hajima Asama, Erwin Prassler, Takashi Tsubouchi, Sebastian
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Publication series

NameSpringer Tracts in Advanced Robotics
ISSN (Print)1610-7438
ISSN (Electronic)1610-742X


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