Portable Fully-Automated Soil Property Measurement Probe

Period of Performance: 07/20/2007 - 01/16/2008


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

CSA Engineering, Inc.
2565 Leghorn Street
Mountain View, CA 94043
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

University of California, Davis
2064 Kemper Hall One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
Institution POC


The CSA-UCDavis team proposes to develop a soil measurement device to allow for rapid and accurate measurement of soil parameters in order to rapidly and accurately characterize the terrain. The device will be man-portable but also allow for mounting to a small robotic vehicle. Parameters that will be measured include but are not limited to cone index, soil friction index, as well as soil shear index. Laboratory and field testing will be conducted to compare the device to commercially available cone penetrometers and soil shear strength instruments. Additional features that will be incorporated by the end of Phase II efforts include motors or actuators to provide for automated normal and torque loads and corresponding displacement sensors. This man-portable soil measurement device will allow for a method to characterize the terrain through measurements of shear, sinkage, and frictional properties of the soil. This will guide in determining if a soil is trafficable, including both by ground- and air-based transport vehicles, thus aiding in making decisions regarding operational mobility and military engineering operations.