Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Today, we would like to introduce Terrabot, our Terrain Traveling Robot. Based on a modified “rock crawler” chassis, its primary purpose is to traverse rocks, branches, steep slopes, flower beds, boulders, mountain trails, and other extremely rough terrain.


Terrabot is equipped with 4-wheel steering (4WS). Two high torque servos shift machined aluminum linkages to rotate its front and back wheels independently. Note the navigation GPS on top of the back servo (on the left) and the sensor turret on the front (right). Terrabot’s four wheels are driven by two powerful brushless motors (bright blue) and robust gearboxes (centered in each axle).

Terrabot’s highly-articulated chassis is designed to twist up to 90 degrees as the robot is moving, allowing it to climb over huge boulders and other obstacles. In this picture, the chassis is articulated 45 degrees. Note that the back tires are still on the ground because the center linkages of the bot are twisted.

Terrabot’s topside electronics include a tiny Arduino Nano (lower left), an XBee Radio (right), and a 9-DOF Mongoose Inerntial Measurement Unit (IMU). The IMU measures the degree of tilt and the rate of acceleration in the X, Y, Z planes, which we plan to use for our stabilization algorithm.

Terrabot’s other electronics are stuffed into the little chamber inside the aluminum core (note the blue LED at the bottom of the picture). This includes the two Electronic Speed Controllers for the motors, the Pololu Maeastro motor/servo controller, the power rails, various voltage regulators, and other electronics. The navigation GPS (see the first picture), is mounted on top of the rear servo so that it has a clear view of the sky.

Terrabot Side View, showing the shocks, the frame, and LIPO battery beneath. Note the “roll posts” we installed on the top to protect the topside electronics if Terrabot falls off a rock during a climb and flips over. (We learned this one from experience!)

Terrabot Front View. There are three sonars mounted in the sensor turret, which rotates 270 degrees when the robot “looks around” to determine the best course through obstacle-ridden rough terrain.

Comments (9)

  1. Kevin
    July 7th, 2012

    Hi I see you made a great robot and I would like to know where did you buy the rock crawler chassis or did you build it by yourself?

  2. Camille Beatty
    July 7th, 2012

    Kevin, Thanks for your comment. We made several custom plates and various attachments, including the sensor turret, but the chassis is based on the rock crawler called Killer Krawler. –Camille

  3. Emil
    January 3rd, 2014

    This Terrabot is inspiring.

  4. Franklin Peña
    September 10th, 2014

    Hi Camille,

    Do you sell your robots? If so would you have a price list?, I am looking for something along the lines of Terrabot for a prototype on a personal project where I can add more sensors, and capabilities.


    Franklin Peña

  5. Camille
    September 10th, 2014

    Franklin, We build our robots for fun and learning, but we also sell some of our robots as well. We build complete package custom robots such as Mars Rovers for museums and science centers, but we also sometimes sell our robot projects “as is” to other robot enthusiasts to continue on with. I’ll contact you via email. —Camille

  6. Damon
    February 18th, 2015

    I am wanting to learn and build with my son who is showing an interest in robotics. I have researched actobotics plans but cannot find any. Do you sell plans or tutorials for a build? Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,


  7. Camille
    February 18th, 2015

    As far as I know, Actobotics does not have too many pre-package plans for their parts. You need to study the photographs and then use your imagination to build the robot of your dreams. However, they do have a few robot kits with instructions that are shown here:

  8. mohaish
    February 24th, 2015

    vary nice!!

  9. vis
    September 21st, 2015


    This looks supercool. Do you have a video?

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