/Energy Considerations for Wheeled Mobile Robots Operating on a Single Battery Discharge

Energy Considerations for Wheeled Mobile Robots Operating on a Single Battery Discharge

Xuesu Xiao and William (Red) L. Whittaker
Tech. Report, CMU-RI-TR-14-16, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, August, 2014

Download Publication (PDF)

Copyright notice: This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author’s copyright. These works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.


This paper presents an energetic model that analyzes energy utilization in mobile robot traverse and estimates maximum range achievable by wheeled mobile robots operating on a single battery discharge. After taking into account different energy uti- lizations, such as propulsion and steering, the model indicates that the most energy- consuming part of mobile robot is robotics functions, such as computing, sensing, communication, etc. Based on this it points out ways to improve maximum robot traverse range: increasing rover velocity, driving duty cycle (ratio of driving time to total mission time), and decreasing robotics functions’ power. Considering the signifi- cant energy proportion of robotics functions, the leftover propulsive consumptions are analyzed, which directly determine the maximum range using a classic terramechanics model. The proportions of energy expended in internal robot system and external inter- action with terrain are quantified with experiments using a small-sized 4-wheel robot. The maximum traverse range of wheeled-mobile robots could be significant, for exam- ple 17km with only 1.12kg battery (166 watts-hour), if the normally immense robotics consumptions are minimized or isolated from the propulsive branch. The resulting propulsion energy, which is only a small fraction of total battery energy expended, is used to estimate achievable range for wheeled mobile robots operating only on a single discharge.

BibTeX Reference
author = {Xuesu Xiao and William (Red) L. Whittaker},
title = {Energy Considerations for Wheeled Mobile Robots Operating on a Single Battery Discharge},
year = {2014},
month = {August},
institution = {Carnegie Mellon University},
address = {Pittsburgh, PA},
number = {CMU-RI-TR-14-16},