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Conceptual Design of Spherical Vehicle System for Future Transportation

Chun-Hsien Ho, Chen-Kai Wu, Jia-Ying Tu, and Shang-Kai Hsu
Department of Power Mechanical Engineering, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan
Abstract—A conceptual design of spherical vehicle system for future transportation is proposed and experimentally verified in this paper. This uses the concepts of rolling motion, spherical structure, change of center of gravity and dynamic stability to realize planar locomotion. Modern wheeled automotive designs, which rely on sophisticated steering systems and multiple wheels to make physical contact with ground, inevitably increase the total weight and degrade the energy efficiency. In addition, the current designs of skeleton and body shell are relatively vulnerable to lateral impact, endangering the passengers’ safety in accidents. Thus, the proposed design completely removes the wheel and tire devices: a spherical shell is used as the vehicle body for locomotion. Additionally, a pendulum device is developed for the purpose of steering and balancing. Ideally, the spherical structure can release the impact energy in a more rapid and even way in a collision, improving the vehicle safety; the pendulum mechanism can reduce the mechanical complexity and improve transmission efficiency. A prototype of the vehicle system and the associated remote control systems using the Arduino units are developed. Numerical and experimental studies are presented to demonstrate the proposed concepts.

Index Terms—spherical robot, future transportation system

Cite: Chun-Hsien Ho, Chen-Kai Wu, Jia-Ying Tu, and Shang-Kai Hsu, "Conceptual Design of Spherical Vehicle System for Future Transportation," Jounal of Automation and Control Engineering, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 191-195, June, 2015. doi: 10.12720/joace.3.3.191-195
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