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Power consumption is a key element in outdoor mobile robot autonomy. This issue is very relevant in skid-steer tracked vehicles on account of their large ground contact area. In this paper, the power losses due to dynamic friction have been modeled from two different perspectives: 1) the power drawn by the rigid terrain and 2) the power supplied by the motors. Comparison of both approaches has provided new insight on skid steering on hard flat terrains at walking speeds. Experimental power models, which also include traction resistance and other power losses, have been obtained for two different track widths over marble flooring and asphalt with Auriga- beta, which is a full-size mobile robot. To this end, various internal probes have been set at different points of the power stream. Furthermore, new energy implications for navigation of these kinds of vehicles have been deduced and tested.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2009