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  1. Abstract In robotics, simulation has the potential to reduce design time and costs, and lead to a more robust engineered solution and a safer development process. However, the use of simulators is predicated on the availability of good models. This contribution is concerned with improving the quality of these models via calibration, which is cast herein in a Bayesian framework. First, we discuss the Bayesian machinery involved in model calibration. Then, we demonstrate it in one example: calibration of a vehicle dynamics model that has low degree-of-freedom (DOF) count and can be used for state estimation, model predictive control, or path planning. A high fidelity simulator is used to emulate the “experiments” and generate the data for the calibration. The merit of this work is not tied to a new Bayesian methodology for calibration, but to the demonstration of how the Bayesian machinery can establish connections among models in computational dynamics, even when the data in use is noisy. The software used to generate the results reported herein is available in a public repository for unfettered use and distribution. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  3. Abstract

    The soil contact model (SCM) is widely used in practice for off‐road wheeled vehicle mobility studies when simulation speed is important and highly accurate results are not a main concern. In practice, the SCM parameters are obtained via a bevameter test, which requires a complex apparatus and experimental procedure. Here, we advance the idea of running a virtual bevameter test using a high‐fidelity terramechanics simulation. The latter employs the “continuous representation model” (CRM), which regards the deformable terrain as an elasto‐plastic continuum that is spatially discretized using the smoothed particle hydrodynamics method. The approach embraced is as follows: a virtual bevameter test is run in simulation using CRM terrain to generate “ground truth” data; in a Bayesian framework, this data is subsequently used to calibrate the SCM terrain. We show that (i) the resulting SCM terrain, while leading to fast terramechanics simulations, serves as a good proxy for the more complex CRM terrain; and (ii) the SCM‐over‐CRM simulation speedup is roughly one order of magnitude. These conclusions are reached in conjunction with two tests: a single wheel test, and a full rover simulation. The SCM and CRM simulations are run in the open‐source software Chrono. The calibration is performed using PyMC, which is a Python package that interactively communicates with Chrono to calibrate SCM. The models and scripts used in this contribution are available as open source for unfettered use and distribution in a public repository.

     
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  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024