Proceedings PaperCompliant-linkage kinematic design for multi-degree-of-freedom mobile robots
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Multi-degree-of-freedom (MDOF) vehicles have many potential advantages over conventional (i.e., 2-DOF) vehicles. For example, MDOF vehicles can travel sideways and they can negotiate tight turns more easily. In addition, some MDOF designs provide better payload capability, better traction, and improved static and dynamic stability. However, MDOF vehicles with more than three degrees-of-freedom are difficult to control because of their overconstrained nature. These difficulties translate into severe wheel slippage or jerky motion under certain driving conditions. In the past, these problems limited the use of MDOF vehicles to applications where the vehicle would follow a guide-wire, which would correct wheel slippage and control errors. By contrast, autonomous or semi-autonomous mobile robots usually rely on dead-reckoning between periodic absolute position updates and their performance is diminished by excessive wheel slippage. This paper introduces a new concept in the kinematic design of MDOF vehicles. This concept is based on the provision of a compliant linkage between drive wheels or drive axles. Simulation results indicate that compliant linkage allows to overcome the control problems found in conventional MDOF vehicles and reduces the amount of wheel slippage to the same level (or less) than the amount of slippage found on a comparable 2-DOF vehicle.