A new highly maneuverable search and rescue robot that can creep, crawl and climb over rough terrain and through tight spaces has been developed by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers. The new Rising Sprawl-Tuned Autonomous Robot (RSTAR) utilizes adjustable sprawling wheel legs attached to a body that can move independently and reposition itself to run on flat surfaces, climb over large obstacles and up closely-spaced walls, and crawl through a tunnel, pipe or narrow gaps.
The robot uses its round wheels to travel more than three feet per second on hard flat surfaces and switches to spoke wheels to traverse extremely soft or granular surfaces, like thick mud or sand, without getting stuck. It also climbs vertically and crawls horizontally by pressing its wheels to walls without touching the floor. The team is working on a larger STAR robot version that will climb over larger obstacles. A smaller STAR or RSTAR will piggyback on the larger robot to use in hard-to-reach areas and sneak in between narrow cracks and passages.