Robot Drive Systems
There are many possible robot "drive" systems, or how
the robot moves. There are of course certain advantages and
disadvantages to each. It depends on the application of the robot,
and what it's needs are.
The most common is an open wheeled design, like the one below.
The most prevalent
advantage to this type of drive, is speed. On flat and stable
surface, robots equipped with wheels could reach relatively high speeds,
depending on the size of the motor installed. The main
disadvantage to this design is the lack of traction on loose or rocky
soil, especially in wet or muddy situations. Usually if two or more
wheels would get stuck, the robot would be immobile.
The next most common type of
drive system is a tank tread design.
The strongest advantage of this particular design is the stability
offered by the treads. When traveling over rocky or unstable
terrain, this design is the least likely to lose traction.
However, a considerable disadvantage to this design is the more
complicated system of wheels and other mechanisms used to turn the
treads. A more complicated system often leads to more breakdowns.
The other disadvantage is in speed; robots using treads will have a much
lower top speed than using the open wheel design.
The third movement system is not often used, but still
worthy of mention. That is using stilts, or "legs" to walk.
This design does not have much practical application
in today's world, due to it still being based on very new technology.
In order for robots to walk, they have to be carefully programmed to
have an "equilibrium" that functions similar to a humans. This as
you might imagine is not an easy task. Even the most advanced
walking robots like the Honda Asimo fall down often, and are far
from perfect. In the future, there may be a world where robots
like these are in every household, and can do everyday chores from
vacuuming and letting the dog out, to washing dishes.
You can watch clips of
the Asimo here
Odex 1 Experimental Robot
The next method robots could use to move around is a
rocket engine or thruster.
Rocket engines and thrusters are generally only used
for outer space travel, and maneuvering.
The final movement method for robots would not be
classified as a type of movement, but is an extremely important part of
robot design nonetheless; that is a stationary robot.
Robots similar to these help in many factories all
over the world, and are an essential part of the assembly line. These
robotic arms often are working twenty-four hours a day, seven days a
week, whereas the man power needed to accomplish the same would cost