Editorial Feature

Types of Locomotion from Start to Finish: Crawling

Robotic movement is inspired by biological creatures; movement in robotics is brought about by body movement not just legs or wheels. Crawling robots draw inspiration from snakes; these robots are capable of wriggling through constricted places and traverse through rough terrains.

Submersible robots or shape changing robots are capable of moving on land and water.They can even move vertically against walls. Submersible robots are useful for investigating underwater leakages.

Basic Principle

Submersible Robot - Movement in crawling robots is performed by a set of six thrusters (4 vertical and 4 horizontal). The crawling robot also changes its shape for better maneuverability through confined spaces. The robot can change its shape up to 90°. It attaches itself to the wall by suction.

Shape Changing Robot – This type of robot is particularly useful for crawling through narrow spaces. The main body of the robot is made up of three joints and two compact crawlers. The posture of the robot can be varied from an open rectangle to a single line.


Some of the applications of crawling robots include:

  • Nuclear plants for checking coolant or fuel leakages
  • Inspection of earthquake explosions, cave-ins, hurricane affected areas
  • Reconnaissance operations
  • Complex wiring by routing electric cables and lines

References and Further Reading

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