Development of leg-track hybrid locomotion to traverse loose slopes and irregular terrain

Keiji Nagatani, Hiroaki Kinoshita, Kazuya Yoshida, Kenjiro Tadakuma, Eiji Koyanagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


A track mechanism has high mobility on irregular terrain and is typically used as a locomotion mechanism for all-terrain robots. To increase its traversal ability, subtracks (additional actuated tracks that change its mounting angles) are effective, and recently many small-sized tracked vehicles have used such mechanisms. The performance of track mechanisms is also typically much better than that of wheeled mechanisms on loose soil. However, they sometimes slip while traversing slopes composed of loose soil. To realize high mobility on weak soil, we developed a new locomotion mechanism, referred to as surface-contact-type locomotion. It uses a simple legged mechanism that has a wide contact area with the ground so as not to corrupt the contact surface. However, it has the disadvantage of low mobility on irregular terrain. To solve the problem of the above trade-off, we developed the leg-track hybrid locomotion mechanism by fusing the two locomotion mechanisms. It consists of three track modules. It mounts six actuators: three motors for standard tracked locomotion, two motors for subtrack motion to change mounting angles, and one motor for simple legged motion. To validate the mechanism, we conducted indoor and outdoor experiments. In this paper, we introduce the simple legged mechanism and discuss its stability, detail the developed leg-track hybrid mechanism, and report some experimental results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)950-960
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Field Robotics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Nov

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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