Home/Novel Experimental Technique for Visualizing and Analyzing Robot-Soil Interactions

Novel Experimental Technique for Visualizing and Analyzing Robot-Soil Interactions

Krzysztof Skonieczny, Scott Jared Moreland, Colin Creager and David Wettergreen
Conference Paper, Proceedings of Earth and Space Conference, April, 2012

View Publication

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.


A novel experimentation and analysis technique has been developed to enable detailed investigation of robot interactions with granular regolith. This technique, the Shear Interface Imaging Analysis Tool, provides visualization and analysis capability of soil shearing and flow as it is influenced by a wheel or excavation tool. The method places an implement (wheel, excavation bucket, etc.) in granular soil up against a transparent sidewall. During controlled motion of the implement, images are taken of the sub-surface soil, and are processed with optical flow software. Analysis of the resulting displacement field identifies clusters of soil motion and shear interfaces. The Shear Interface Imaging Analysis Tool enables analysis of robot-soil interactions in richer detail than possible before. Prior art relied on long-exposure images that provided only qualitative insight, while the new processing technique identifies sub-millimeter gradations in motion and can do so even for high frequency changes in motion (several Hz). Results are presented for various wheel types and locomotion modes: small/large diameter, rigid/compliant, with/without grousers, and rolling/inching. Results are also presented for an excavation bucket horizontally cutting granular soil.

author = {Krzysztof Skonieczny and Scott Jared Moreland and Colin Creager and David Wettergreen},
title = {Novel Experimental Technique for Visualizing and Analyzing Robot-Soil Interactions},
booktitle = {Proceedings of Earth and Space Conference},
year = {2012},
month = {April},
keywords = {terramechanics, rover, regolith, wheel, excavation},
} 2017-09-13T10:39:56-04:00