As technologies advance, UGVs are carrying more sophisticated and larger payloads, potentially becoming top heavy. The Tip-over Prevention project has been initiated to maintain or improve the stability of UGV platforms. The project uses the autonomy payload, which contains an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), hosting the Autonomous Capabilities Suite (ACS). The software monitors the stability status of the UGVs, including the Packbot, Talon, and Segway--and is easily adaptable to other UGVs. The output from the accelerometer is fed into an algorithm that takes into account the center of mass and footprint of the UGV, and outputs a parameter with the likelihood of tipping over.
Using that parameter, we are developing reactive behaviors to prevent the robot from tipping over. For instance, while the operator is focusing on the mission and maneuvering the robot into a situation that could cause it to tip over, the program's reactive behaviors will identify the potentially hazardous condition and override the operator input by means such as reducing the speed or changing the heading to maintain the robot's stability.
Testing of tip-over prevention techniques.
Simulator demonstrating warning avatar and data feedback from ACS.
Tip-Over Prevention operator console during testing.