Autonomous Robots

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 55–64 | Cite as

Visual wheel sinkage measurement for planetary rover mobility characterization

  • Christopher A. BrooksEmail author
  • Karl D. Iagnemma
  • Steven Dubowsky


Wheel sinkage is an important indicator of mobile robot mobility in natural outdoor terrains. This paper presents a vision-based method to measure the sinkage of a rigid robot wheel in rigid or deformable terrain. The method is based on detecting the difference in intensity between the wheel rim and the terrain. The method uses a single grayscale camera and is computationally efficient, making it suitable for systems with limited computational resources such as planetary rovers. Experimental results under various terrain and lighting conditions demonstrate the effectiveness and robustness of the algorithm.


Rough terrain Mobile robots Machine vision Soil characterization Mobility 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher A. Brooks
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karl D. Iagnemma
    • 1
  • Steven Dubowsky
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringCambridge

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