Kinematics of articulated wheeled robots: Exploiting reconfigurability and redundancy
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Articulated wheeled robot (AWR) is a locomotion system whose chassis is connected to a set of wheels through links and joints. Their articulations allow for reconfigurability that has significant applications in many arenas. But they also feature considerable nonholonomic and holonomic constraints which make the design, analysis and control difficult. Based on twist transformations, this thesis will describe a general approach to the kinematic modeling and analysis of articulated wheeled robots. We will then propose a novel planar reconfigurable omnidirectional articulated wheeled mobile robot (ROAMeR) to demonstrate this approach. This robot distinguishes from existing planar mobile robot by having capability to change the location of all the caster wheels. Its kinematic model will be established using developed method. Two kinematic control schemes, based on augmented kinematics and pseudoinverse technique respectively, are developed which coordinate the motion of the articulated legs and wheels and resolve redundancy. Localization algorithm using odometry will also be developed. Simulation results are presented to validate the control algorithm that can move the robot from one configuration to another while following a reference path. Finally, we present the design and construction of a physical prototype. The physical prototype is controlled using an onboard embedded computer running a real-time operating system. The mechanical, electrical, and software design of the physical ROAMeR will be shown. We will then use the physical prototype to verify the proposed design and control.