Robotic Mules Using Leg Pairs as Virtual Wheels

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Army
Contract: W56HZV-04-C-0088
Agency Tracking Number: A032-2623
Amount: $119,395.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2004
Solicitation Year: 2003
Solicitation Topic Code: A03-242
Solicitation Number: 2003.2
Small Business Information
1209 Grand Central Ave, Glendale, CA, 91201
DUNS: 010034598
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 William Hillis
 Co-Chairman and CTO
 (818) 545-1401
Business Contact
 T. Markes
Title: Vice President, Operation
Phone: (818) 545-1408
Research Institution
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.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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