A system level performance analysis method for the design of a C-shape hexapod leg operating on compactive terrain

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Remotely controlled vehicles have gained increased interest and application, like the exploration of inhospitable environments. To this end hexapods with C-shape locomotors are particularly suitable because these vehicles possess both the efficiency of wheels and the climbing capabilities of legged robots. Currently all C-legged hexapods are equipped with the same C-shape tip starting in the center of rotation, yet few to no alternative shapes that could improve the performance have been investigated. The performance is mainly characterized by three measures: traction, climbing and mobility. However, it was also found that no system level performance analysis including constraints exists. In this work a novel method is proposed to describe the system level performance of C-legged hexapods. Using this model, a computer-aided manual optimization of the leg shape is performed, from which it is observed that there is no unique optimal leg shape. The optima depend on the weight factor posed by the designer; but several leg types prove to perform better than the conventional shape. The most prominent trade-off of this hybrid shape is present between climbing and mobility, but this effect can be superseded when the shape is generated conceptually instead of analytically.