Institute of Snow Research
Vehicle Mobility Testing
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The Keweenaw Research Center is involved in all aspects of mobility
research from design of vehicle components and systems, to vehicle
testing, to terrain modeling and manipulation. A team of experts is always
available to study the tiniest component of a vehicle or model the entire
system, the vehicle in the real world.
The Institute of Snow Research's involvement in mobility studies is from
the side of the terrain. Terrain characterization is not limited to snow, soil
scenarios are also studied, but snow is the focus of most studies. In
general, vehicle mobility can be broken into 2 major categories from the
terrain side. These are
- Adjust vehicle parameters to fit current
- Adjust terrain conditions to fit a certain vehicle.
ISR has undertaken numerous projects that cover both categories. A good
example of this is the involvement in a reconnaissance traverse across
parts of Antarctica on a USACRREL
and NSF funded project. Russ Alger
was a part of the team chosen to characterize several legs of a proposed
tractor train route from McMurdo to the South Pole to support
reconstruction of the South Pole Station. The scope of this study was to
find a route that could be maneuvered with a chosen set of vehicles. This
was done by characterizing the snow and terrain along the route and
determining if the vehicles could navigate the chosen area. If there was a
problem with snow strength in an area, a method to manipulate the
properties of the surface was recommended.
The KRC Snow Paver is another example of how ISR scientists have
developed methods to manipulate the snow to fit a given set of vehicles.
The main use of the snow paver is for snowmobile trail grooming. In this
case, the vehicles, snowmobiles, are a constant. The snow paver is
designed to change the snow, make it more durable, to fit these vehicles.
On the other side, ISR scientists are experts in the field of characterizing
snow and ice covered terrains. This characterization expertise has been
used to ensure correlation between tests and to develop models for design
and prediction. Measurements of the properties of a test surface are
essential to making comparisons of tests after the fact and during ever
changing snow and ice conditions.
© 1998-2006 Keweenaw Research Center / Michigan Technological University. All
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