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Title: Adaptive motion control for a four wheel steered mobile robot
Author: Plantenberg, Detlef Holger
ISNI:       0000 0001 3492 5341
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2000
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For adaptive motion control of an autonomous vehicle, operating in a generally structured environment, position and velocity feedback are required to ascertain the vehicle location relative to a reference. Whilst the literature offers techniques for guiding vehicles along external references, autonomous vehicles should be able to navigate between despatch locations without the need to rely on external guidance systems. Considerations of the vehicle stability and manoeuvrability favour a vehicle design with four independently steered wheels. A new motion control methodology has been proposed which utilises the geometric relationship of the angular displacements and the rotations of the wheels to estimate the longitudinal and lateral motions of the vehicle. The motion controller consists of three building blocks: the motion control system comprising the position tracking and the motion comm and generation; the electronic system comprising a data acquisition system and proprietary power electronics; the mechanical system which includes an undercarriage enabling permanent contact of the wheels with the floor. The components have been designed not only to perform optimally in their specific functions but also to ensure full compatibility within the integrated system. For reliable deduction of the wheel rotations with a high degree of accuracy a dedicated data acquisition interface has been developed, which enables data to be captured in parallel from four optical encoders mounted directly on the wheel axles. Parallel sampling of the angular wheel position and parallel actuation of all steering motors improves the accuracy of the system state and gives a higher degree of certainty. Considering only circular motion of the vehicle, a method for calculating the steering angles and wheel speeds based on the complex notation is presented. By cumulating the displacement vectors of the vehicle motion and the location of the centre of rotation between consecutive samples of the controller, the path of the vehicle is estimated. The difference between the nominal and the deduced centre of rotation is determined to minimise deviations from the reference trajectory and to allow the controller to adapt to changes in the road/tyre interface characteristics. The individual mechanical and electronic components have been assembled and tested. Additionally, the performance of the electronic interface has been evaluated on a purpose built test-bed. For the experimental validation of the methodology, a simple method of mapping the centre of curvature with a pen mounted at the nominal centre of rotation has been proposed. Experiments have been conducted with both the steering angles fixed to their theoretical values for the nominal centre of rotation and with the proportional steering controller enabled. The results from the latter method have shown a significantly reduced deviation from the nominal centre of rotation. The data captured of the angular wheel positions and steering angle settings has been analysed off-line. Good agreement is obtained between the deduced and the actual centres of rotation for the measurements averaged over 1.5 seconds. A number of different centres of rotation have been investigated and the required steering angles to compensate for the deviation have been plotted to form a control surface for the motion controller. The deviation between the estimated and the actual centre of curvature was less than 1.6 % and adequate results could be obtained with the proportional steering controller.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Autonomous guided vehicle; Undercarriage; Drive