The purpose of this project is to develop a mobile robot for hazardous terrain exploration. The exploration of hazardous terrain requires the development of a passive mechanism adaptable to such terrain and a sensing system for obstacle avoidance, as well as a remote control. We designed a new mobile robot, the Ronahz 6-wheel robot, which uses a passive mechanism that can adapt to hazardous terrains and building stairways without any active control. The suggested passive linkage mechanism consists of a simple four-bar linkage mechanism. In addition, we install a stereo vision system for obstacle avoidance, as well as a remote control. Wide dynamic range CCD cameras are used for outdoor navigation. A stereo vision system commonly requires high computational power. Therefore, we use a new high-speed stereo correspondence algorithm, triangulation, and iterative closest point (ICP) registration to reduce computation time. Disparity maps computed by a newly proposed, high-speed method are sent to the operator by a wireless LAN equipment. At the remote control site, a three-dimensional digital map around a mobile robot is built by ICP registration and reconstruction process, and this three-dimensional map is displayed for the operator. This process allows the operator to sense the environment around the robot and to give commands to the mobile robot when the robot is in a remote site.

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