Desert RHex Technical Report: Tengger Desert Trip

Desertification is a long-standing issue in China, but research on the processes of desertification is limited by availability of personnel and technical equipment. This suggests a perfect application and further testing ground for the mobile desert sensing technology described in a previous technical report. We describe here the first of two trips to the Tengger Desert as part of a collaborative effort to bring Desert RHexes to China, with the goal of this trip being to discover and address potential locomotor challenges. Our robots were able to ascend 20-degree slopes with an 8.5kg payload, indicating that they could indeed be used for this novel mobile desert sensor application. We achieved locomotion on up to 30-degree slopes unreliably and on up to 27-degree slopes using morphological and behavioral adaptations inspired by our last desert trip.