A study in power prediction of ground robots using small-scale endurance tests

Open Access
Whittaker, Zachary A
Area of Honors:
Mechanical Engineering
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Sean N Brennan, Thesis Supervisor
  • Karl Martin Reichard, Thesis Supervisor
  • Zoubeida Ounaies, Honors Advisor
  • ground robots
  • endurance
  • NIST
In an effort to remove humans from dangerous situations, ground robots have become an invaluable tool in explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) and search and rescue missions. To ensure the success of these missions, the robot operator must have precise knowledge of the energy capabilities of the robot he or she is tasked with using. Currently, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) maintains a set of test methods to evaluate a robot’s abilities. This thesis presents a specific analysis of the NIST test method for measuring robot endurance with the goal to correlate test data from these tests to actual in-field mission durations. The analysis within is based on results from two ground robots: the MTRS Talon made by Foster Miller (Now QinetiQ NA) and the Packbot made by iRobot. These robots were tested on a replica endurance test arena built to NIST specifications in accordance with the test procedures given by NIST. Power and energy data from these endurance tests was then compared to that of outdoor courses intended to better simulate an EOD or search and rescue mission. This thesis provides the methods by which mission performance and energy use can be predicted from NIST endurance test results.