Demonstration of waypoint navigation for a semi-autonomous prototype surf-zone robot
Dunbar, Thomas W.
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The objective of the Small Robot Technology (SMART) initiative at the Naval Post Graduate School (NPS) is to develop robots for military uses. One of the goals of this program is to create a surf--zone reconnaissance robot to do beachhead surveillance and mine detection. To this end, a prototype robot was created to test the locomotion and navigation functions which will be used on the surf--zone robot. This work consisted of redesigning the steering mechanism, strengthen the structure, improving the electrical distribution and upgrading the communications hardware. Several tests were conducted on both grass and soft sand to evaluate the performance of the locomotion system and the navigation software. The results demonstrated that the robot functions best in soft sand as expected. However, several serious mechanical design flaws were noticed in the body construction and mechanical systems. These flaws, while not detrimental, did negatively impact the performance of the system. Finally, some suggestions for improving future prototypes are discussed.
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