/An Evaluation of Wheel-Track Systems

An Evaluation of Wheel-Track Systems

Hannah Lyness
Master's Thesis, Tech. Report, CMU-RI-TR-17-33, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, August, 2017

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Wheels and tracks each boast a diverse set of properties that enable them to thrive in very different missions. Where once heavy armor and large weaponry was synonymous with safety for military ground vehicles, current development effort has shifted to the intelligent prediction and evasion of attack. A device capable of transitioning between wheel and track form would provide these vehicles with the efficiency advantages of a wheel and the mobility benefits of a track.

This thesis summarizes a century of wheel-track combinations and current hybrid systems. Additionally, a novel, dynamically changing wheel-track design from the National Robotics Engineering Center is depicted. This device is compared with existing hybrids based on empirical terramechanics properties. Testing protocol and results are described for benchtop versions of this system. Experimentation with these early prototypes reinforced the feasibility of such a device that can maintain speed while changing between wheel and track configurations. This research serves to describe and evaluate existing wheel and track technologies, centralize current performance estimation methods and inform the next generation of one rapidly transforming wheel-track system.

BibTeX Reference
author = {Hannah Lyness},
title = {An Evaluation of Wheel-Track Systems},
year = {2017},
month = {August},
school = {Carnegie Mellon University},
address = {Pittsburgh, PA},
number = {CMU-RI-TR-17-33},
keywords = {wheels, tracks, terramechanics, military},