ARCSnake: Advanced Robotics and Controls Snake

An Archimedes’ Screw-Propelled, Reconfigurable Robot Snake for Complex Environments

We present the design and performance of a screw-propelled redundant serpentine robot. This robot comprises serially linked, identical modules, each incorporating an Archimedes’ screw for propulsion and a universal joint (U-Joint) for orientation control. When serially chained, these modules form a versatile snake robot platform which enables the robot to reshape its body configuration for varying environments and gait patterns that would be typical of snake movement. Furthermore, the Archimedes’ screws allow for novel omni-wheel drive-like motions by speed controlling their screw threads. We consider the mechanical and electrical design, as well as the software architecture for realizing a fully integrated system. The system includes 3N actuators for N segments, each controlled using a BeagleBone Black with a customized power-electronics cape, a 9 Degrees of Freedom (DoF) Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), and a scalable communication channel over ROS. The intended application for this robot is its use as an instrumentation mobility platform on terrestrial planets where the terrain may involve vents, caves, ice, and rocky surfaces.

Summary Video

ARCSnake_HD (1).mp4



Dimitri A. Schreiber, Florian Richter, Andrew Bilan, Peter V. Gavrilov, Lam Hoi Man, Casey H. Price, Spencer Chang, Pranay, Kalind C. Carpenter, and Michael C. Yip

This project was a collaboration between UCSD Advanced Robotics and Controls Lab (ARCLab) and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA under the 2018-2019 Spontaneous Concept Award.

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