We have developed a novel concept of mobile robot called Gyrover with a single-wheel profile, based on the principle of gyroscopic precession, as exhibited in stability of a rolling wheel.
Gyrover is stabilized by a spinning flywheel attached through a two-link arm at the wheel bearing, where a drive motor is mounted. The spinning flywheel acts as a gyroscope to stabilize the robot, and meanwhile it can be tilted to achieve steering. This configuration conveys significant advantages over multi-wheel, statically stable vehicles, including insensitivity to attitude disturbances, high maneuverability, low rolling resistance, ability to recover from falls, and amphibious capability.
The main researches include:
(1) Construct a dynamic model and investigate the coupling and parameterization of the propulsion and steering mechanisms.
(2) The way to obtain the information of the robot movement based on attitude sensing integrated with other on-board sensors.
(3) Develop several control schemes in controlling this robot, such as humanmachine shared control.
Potential applications for Gyrover are numerous. Because it can travel on both land and water, it may find amphibious use on beaches or swampy areas, for transportation, rescue, mining detection, or recreation. As a surveillance robot, Gyrover could take advantage of its slim profile to pass through doorways and narrow passages, and its ability to turn in place to maneuver in tight corners. It can also be used as a high-speed lunar vehicle, as the absence of aerodynamic disturbances and low gravity would permit the efficient and high-speed mobility.