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Manipulability-Based Configuration Evaluation of Cooperative Payload Transport by Mobile Robot Collectives

[+] Author Affiliations
Chin Pei Tang, Venkat Krovi

State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

Paper No. DETC2004-57476, pp. 1273-1282; 10 pages
  • ASME 2004 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2: 28th Biennial Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Parts A and B
  • Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, September 28–October 2, 2004
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4695-4 | eISBN: 0-7918-3742-4
  • Copyright © 2004 by ASME


Interest in cooperative systems typically arises when certain tasks are either too complex to be performed by a single agent or when there are distinct benefits that accrue by cooperation of many simple agents. A quantitative examination of performance enhancement, due to the implementation of cooperation, is critical. In this paper, we focus on the development of a quantitative performance-analysis framework for a cooperative system with multiple wheeled mobile manipulators physically transporting a common payload. Each mobile manipulator module consists of a differentially-driven wheeled mobile robot with a mounted planar three-degree-of-freedom (d.o.f.) manipulator. A composite cooperative system is formed when a payload is placed at the end-effectors of multiple such modules. Such a system possesses the ability to change its relative configuration as well as accommodate relative positioning errors of the mobile bases. However, the combination of nonholonomic constraints due to the mobile bases, holonomic constraints due to the closed kinematic loops formed and the varying actuation of the joints within the cooperative system requires careful treatment for realizing the payload transport task. In this paper, we will analyze the cooperative composite system within a constrained mechanical system framework, by extending methods developed for treatment of articulated-closed-chain systems. Specifically, we will focus on the velocity-level kinematic modeling, while taking into account the nonholonomic/holonomic constraints and different joint-actuation schemes within the system. We then examine the applicability of a manipulability measure (isotropy index), to quantitatively analyze the system-level performance of the cooperative system, with these different joint-actuation schemes, with representative case-studies.

Copyright © 2004 by ASME
Topics: Mobile robots



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