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In this paper, we present the development of a tire rubber deformation sensing system that provides the critical information for understanding and estimation of wheel/ground interactions for mobile robots and vehicles. Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF)-based sensors are designed and fabricated to embed on the inner tread surface to measure the tire rubber tread deformation. Analytical models of the PVDF-based sensing system are presented to capture the wheel/ground contact information and friction characteristics. The sensed deformation measurements are integrated with the onboard control system through a wireless data transmission module. Experimental results on a skid-steered mobile robot are presented to show the feasibility and estimation of wheel/ground friction characteristics using the developed sensing system.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2008