AmphiHex-I: Locomotory Performance in Amphibious Environments with Specially Designed Transformable Flipper Legs

Shiwu Zhang, Youcheng Zhou, Min Xu, Xu Liang, Jiming LIU, Jie Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


An amphibious robot can locomote in amphibious environments, including walking on rough terrains, maneuvering underwater, and passing through soft muddy or sandy substrates in the littoral area between land and water. However, developing an amphibious robot is challenging, especially when it requires a high locomotory performance in soft substrates and a combination of different propulsion methods. To tackle such a challenge, an amphibious robot, known as AmphiHex-I, with novel transformable flipper-leg composite propulsion mechanisms has been proposed and developed. In this paper, locomotory performance of the flipper legs in amphibious environments, especially in the muddy terrain, is extensively studied with a walking platform in terms of structural parameters, kinematic parameters, and environmental properties. The results indicate that there exist an optimal rotation speed of the flipper legs with various shapes for a higher locomotion speed of the walking model in muddy terrain, which guides the design and the control of the transformable flipper legs. Through the versatile gaits of AmphiHex-I in amphibious environments, outdoor locomotion experiments validate the platform study and demonstrate that the robot's transformable flipper-leg propulsion mechanisms make it highly adaptive to a littoral environment such as the muddy terrain. Locomotion ability of AmphiHex-I endows its broad applications in the areas of resource exploration, disaster rescue, and reconnaissance in complex environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7296639
Pages (from-to)1720-1731
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

User-Defined Keywords

  • Amphibious Environments
  • Amphibious Robot
  • Gait
  • Locomotory Performance
  • Transformable Flipper-Leg


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