SSC Pacific
Novel Unmanned Ground Vehicle (NUGV)

The NUGV is a six-motion-degree-of-freedom (dof) sensor-rich small mobile robot designed to test methods to improve mobility in this class of UGV. The NUGV is composed of three pods: a center pod plus two identical Novel Unmanned Ground Vehiclelateral drive pods each connected to an end of the center pod via an “L” shaped axle. Each of the three pods contains sensors of the internal and external environments, batteries, two motors with transmissions, radios, computers and associated electronics. A local RF network provides communication among the pods and with the OCU. The lateral tracked pods are capable of independent motion.

The NUGV’s improved mobility is achieved using a combination of lateral pod track rotations (2-dof), lateral pod tilt rotations (2-dof), and lateral pod camber rotations (2-dof). Some of the different conformations possible with the six motion dof are shown below.

Vehicle Conformations

The NUGV has the ability to change its conformation while in motion and thus adapt to a range of physical obstacles and barriers in the environment. Examples are shown in the following figures:

Under Gate
Fitting under a gate.

Climbing Stairs
Climbing stairs.

Fitting In a Narrow Gap
Fitting ina narrow gap.

Over Curb - One
1. Approaching the curb.

Over Curb - Two
2. First track on the curb.

Over Curb - Three
3. Traction on the curb.

Climbing Rubble - One
1. Climbing rubble.

Climbing Rubble - Two
2. Climbing rubble.

Climbing Rubble - Three
3. Climbing rubble.

Turning While Extended
Turning while extended.

Bipedal Balancing
Bipedal balancing.

Straddling a Pole
Straddling a pole.

Control BoxThe NUGV OCU displays motor currents, battery voltages, some sensor values, and video from one of four cameras selected by the operator. The OCU runs from any laptop and is reconfigurable. One configuration is shown here. The laptop is coupled to a portable box containing a joystick, radio, and video card. The NUGV may be teleoperated, or released to operate under local reactive control, or operated with a combination of teleoperation and local reactive control.

The NUGV was designed and built by ACEi, Valencia, CA, under SPAWAR Systems Center contract N66001-02-MX-105, with funding from the OSD Joint Robotics Program.

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Updated: 10/19/2011 5:28 PM EST   Published (1.0)