Autonomous Robots

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 63–78 | Cite as

Design of a terrain adaptive wheeled robot for human-orientated environments

  • Conor McGinnEmail author
  • Michael F. Cullinan
  • Moyin Otubela
  • Kevin Kelly


Domestic and human-centered environments pose many practical challenges for service robots, especially those that must perform a diverse range of tasks. Existing robot morphologies have typically failed to incorporate the physical practicality and terrain adaptability needed to achieve high behavioral diversity in these spaces, as the most suitable configurations for certain tasks/behaviors are often highly unsuitable for others. This paper presents the development of a novel wheeled robot morphology that has been designed to possess the physical characteristics necessary to exploit human-centered environments, while also attaining the terrain adaptability to perform demanding locomotive tasks such as crevice crossing and step climbing. The design of a demonstrator embodiment is presented and discussed. Through simulation and real-world testing, the effectiveness of the prototype is evaluated. Finally, several design insights and lessons learned are discussed.


Wheeled robot Pneumatic artificial muscle Service robot 



The authors would like to thank Cian Donovan, Adam McCreevey, George Walsh and Mark Culleton for their efforts in developing and testing the robot presented in this work. We would also like to thank Iarnroid Eireann for allowing us to conduct testing on their trains.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (mp4 4898 KB)

Supplementary material 2 (mp4 5473 KB)

Supplementary material 3 (mp4 4583 KB)

Supplementary material 4 (mp4 20945 KB)

Supplementary material 5 (mp4 27167 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EngineeringTrinity College DublinDublinIreland

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