A future in which robots help peopleto do the hard work, it’s almost done. Already now, as part of rescue or military operations, robotic devices are searching for people under the rubble and even render explosive devices harmless. But it’s not humanoid robots like Atlas from Boston Dynamics that are engaged in these matters, but vehicles with caterpillar wheels. And the thing is that they move faster and faster through rocky terrain, and also cost much less than two-legged and futuristic robots. Recently, Israeli engineers created the Reconfigurable Continuous Track Robot (RCTR), a crawler robot that overcomes obstacles of varying difficulty without any problems. But how does he succeed and why is he needed at all?
The abilities of an unusual robot were toldin the scientific journal IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters. Externally, the 5-centimeter RCTR robot is similar to the chassis of a caterpillar tank and is a closed tape with the greatest possible flexibility. According to engineers, the angle between the links that make up the robot can vary from -20 to 45 degrees. The robot is powered by three engines, but in the future, researchers want to reduce their number to two. This can reduce the cost of the robot and reduce the consumption of energy necessary for its operation.
Robot for rescue and military operations
Thanks to a special mechanism, some linkscan be fastened together so that one part of the robot remains flexible, while the other maintains a straight shape. Thanks to this design feature, the robot can perform unusual maneuvers such as jumping over abysses and obstacles, climbing small elevations and safe descent from small elevations. The developers claim that the robot can even climb rather high elevations up to 20 centimeters by bending its body at a large angle.
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During testing, the RCTR robot proved its worth.Efficiency in moving through rocky and grassy areas. This feature will make it possible to use the device in search and rescue operations and even in military missions for reconnaissance of enemy territories. It is possible that in the future, the mechanism developed by Israeli engineers will be interested in tank manufacturers to create models with better cross-country performance.
With all this, the RCTR robot has one hugeminus - he is able to go only forward and does not know how to turn to the sides. Most likely, in the future, the creators will solve this problem by attaching another to one track and the robot will turn to the sides in the same way as tanks. How such a design will affect other capabilities of the robot is not yet clear.
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In general, this is not the first crawler robot inthe world. Last year, we told you about the Japanese company Amoeba Energy, which developed a courier robot for delivering parcels. Unlike similar robots, it is able to climb directly to the doors of customers using stairs. You can read about how he succeeds in our special material.