Integrated Power Systems for Improved Mobility of Ground Robots

Principal Investigator: Huei Peng, University of Michigan, hpeng(at)
Student: Tianyou Guo, University of Michigan
Government: Matt Castanier, Mike Pozolo, U.S. Army TARDEC
Industry: Mitchell Rohde, Quantum Signal LLC

Unmanned Ground Vehicles can perform many surveillance, scouting, detection and rescue missions and keep soldiers out of harms’ way in the battlefield.  Literature review and analysis indicates that existing SUGVs have short mission duration, lasting for less than 1-2 hours due to the limitation of their on-board power systems.  The long-term goal of this project is to make significant progress toward the goal of reaching 10-hour mission duration without compromising the mission quality.  One of the key expected contributions of this research is to develop scalable models related to the energy/power attributes of off-road military robots, which can be used for their design, simulation, analysis and performance specifications. This project consists of research tasks in three directions: load characterization, sizing and configuration, and control including possibly path planning.

Results of this work has been demonstrated in the research-grade code (not for commercial use) that can be downloaded at the link to the below publication [4].

Downloadable code:

  • Fast Analytical Models of Wheel-Soil Interactions
    Smith, William; Peng, Huei
    software download
  • Design tool for small off road unmanned wheeled ground vehicles
    Smith, William; Peng, Huei
    software download


  1. Zhenzhong Jia, William Smith and Huei Peng (2013). Fast analytical models of wheeled locomotion in deformable terrain for mobile robots. Robotica, 31, pp 35-53. doi:10.1017/S0263574712000069
  2. Zhenzhong Jia, William Smith and Huei Peng (2012). Terramechanics-based wheel–terrain interaction model and its applications to off-road wheeled mobile robots. Robotica, 30, pp 491-503. doi:10.1017/S0263574711000798
  3. Jia, Zhenzhong; Smith, William; Peng, Huei; , "Fast computation of wheel-soil interactions for safe and efficient operation of mobile robots," Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2011 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on , vol., no., pp.3004-3010, 25-30 Sept. 2011, doi:10.1109/IROS.2011.6094507
  4. Smith, W., Peng, H., Filipi, Z., Kramer, D., Pozolo, M., “Development of a Design Tool for Small Off-Road Unmanned Wheeled Ground Vehicles: A Case Study,” AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems 2011 (link)
  5. Jayakumar, P., Smith, W., Ross, B., Jategoankar, R., Konarzewski, K., “Development of High Fidelity Mobility Simulation of an Autonomous Vehicle in an Off-Road Scenario Using Integrated Sensor, Controller and Multi-Body Dynamics,” Ground Vehicle Systems Engineering and Technology Symposium 2011 (link)