Nonprehensile Terrain Manipulation

My primary PhD research is on using models of wheel-soil manipulation to develop strategies for planetary rovers to alter soft-soil terrain. Nonprehensile terrain manipulation has the capability to enhance sampling, augment mobility, and much more. In 2018 I earned a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship to pursue this research. I collaborate frequently with engineers at NASA Ames Research Center, and in fall 2019 accompanied a group of NASA scientists to Chile’s Atacama Desert to perform terrain manipulation experiments there.Photo by Arno Rogg

Publications related to this project:

C. Pavlov and A. M. Johnson, “Soil Displacement Terramechanics for Wheel-Based Trenching with a Planetary Rover,” 2019 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Montreal, QC, Canada, 2019, pp. 4760-4766. Link.

Youtube video demonstrating nonprehensile terrain manipulation on Ames’ KREX-2 rover.

Press related to this project:

NASA’s page on my fellowship.

CMU College of Engineering article.

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