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Volume 24 Issue 10 - Publication Date: 1 October 2005
 
Approximating Kinematics for Tracked Mobile Robots
 
J.L. Martínez, A. Mandow, J. Morales, S. Pedraza, and A. García-Cerezo Dept. Ingeniería de Sistemas y Automática, Universidad de Málaga, Plaza El Ejido s/n, 29013-Málaga, Spain
 
In this paper we propose a kinematic approach for tracked mobile robots in order to improve motion control and pose estimation. Complex dynamics due to slippage and track-soil interactions make it difficult to predict the exact motion of the vehicle on the basis of track velocities. Nevertheless, real-time computations for autonomous navigation require an effective kinematics approximation without introducing dynamics in the loop. The proposed solution is based on the fact that the instantaneous centers of rotation (ICRs) of treads on the motion plane with respect to the vehicle are dynamics-dependent, but they lie within a bounded area. Thus, optimizing constant ICR positions for a particular terrain results in an approximate kinematic model for tracked mobile robots. Two different approaches are presented for off-line estimation of kinematic parameters: (i) simulation of the stationary response of the dynamic model for the whole velocity range of the vehicle; (ii) introduction of an experimental setup so that a genetic algorithm can produce the model from actual sensor readings. These methods have been evaluated for on-line odometric computations and low-level motion control with the Auriga-a mobile robot on a hard-surface flat soil at moderate speeds.
 
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