Development of a Control System and Simulator for a Skid Steer Amphibious Vehicle

  • Michael Clarke

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Engineering


With autonomous robotic systems increasingly being used for various tasks including research projects, their ability to operate away from their ideal laboratory environment comes into question. Whilst long term autonomous robotic platforms do exist, few are based on vehicles that provide all terrain manoeuvrability, and certainly none combine this with skid-steering mechanisms. Inspired by the robotic requirements of the Rees Scan project in New Zealand, this dissertation aims to show the development of an all terrain robotic platform based on an ARGO 6x6 Amphibious Petrol Powered Skid-Steer Vehicle. The design and development of a control system, including software and hardware, is discussed. Further, a simplistic simulation environment is developed in an attempt to model the performance of the robotic platform on different surfaces. It is shown that the control of such a vehicle is possible with a reasonably high level of precision with relatively low cost components, suggesting that with more expensive hardware or different techniques, high-precision control would be possible. Further, it is shown that based on the various characteristics of the robotic platform such as the throttle values, wheel rotations and turn rates it is possible to classify, with some level of accuracy, the varying surfaces allowing for future work towards adaptive control systems able to adjust their performance as the robot moves from one unknown environment to another.
Date of Award2010
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorMark Neal (Supervisor)

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