Robots comprised of an omni directional drive system have a distinct kinematic and mobility advantage over the standard differential drive and Ackermann (car-like) drive. In this project we designed an omni directional drive robot with very high mobility that can negotiate typical edge and gap traversal obstacles in an indoor environment.
It is based on a novel spherical drive mechanism which has the advantage of continuous contact with the ground plane to reduce vibration and isotropic rotational characteristics that facilitate improved traversal properties. The mechanism is mechanically simple and efficient in its use of volume.
Our results demonstrated the robot’s ability to traverse edges and gaps where other popular Omns wheels grind to a halt. Chris Lehnert designed this Omni drive robot as part of his undergraduate thesis, which I supervised. Hopefully, someday we will create an even larger and faster version of this high mobility robot.
Check out the video to see our prototype robot traversing obstacles.
D. Ball, C. Lehnert, G. Wyeth (2010) A Practical Implementation of a Continuous Isotropic Spherical Omnidirectional Drive, Proceedings of the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Anchorage, Alaska.