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Robotic Mules Using Leg Pairs as Virtual Wheels

Award Information

Department of Defense
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2004 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Applied Minds
1209 Grand Central Ave Glendale, CA 91201-
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2004
Title: Robotic Mules Using Leg Pairs as Virtual Wheels
Agency / Branch: DOD / ARMY
Contract: W56HZV-04-C-0088
Award Amount: $119,395.00


Applied Minds, Inc. (AMI) will build a legged robotic vehicle by replacing the four wheels of a conventional vehicle with four leg pairs (such as those in bipedal walkers), effectively providing a set of very large diameter virtual wheels, resulting in a family of robotic legged mules with high ground clearance, high maneuverability, enhanced stability, and the ability to navigate very uneven terrain as well as narrow trails. Legged robots provide a practical solution for navigation on narrow trails but raise design and engineering challenges such as balance, stability, speed, and payload capacity. At the same time, when navigating uneven terrain, there are advantages to having wheels of very large diameter, both for rolling over surface irregularities, as well as to obtain a high clearance between the axle and the ground, but large wheels involve greater cost, greater weight, and greater power and mechanical demands on the vehicle, as well as decreased maneuverability. AMI have identified a solution to this problem by using leg pairs as virtual wheels in the design of a vehicle. By using leg pairs as a substitute for wheels in vehicle design, AMI's solution combines the advantages of legs and large wheels.

Principal Investigator:

William Hillis
Co-Chairman and CTO

Business Contact:

T. Markes
Vice President, Operation
Small Business Information at Submission:

1209 Grand Central Ave Glendale, CA 91201

EIN/Tax ID: 134101160
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No