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Skid-steered vehicles are often used as outdoor mobile robots due to their robust mechanical structure and high maneuverability. Sliding, along with rolling, is inherent to general curvilinear motion, which makes both kinematic and dynamic modeling difficult. For the purpose of motion planning, this paper develops and experimentally verifies dynamic models of a skid-steered wheeled vehicle for general planar (2-D) motion and for linear 3-D motion. These models are characterized by the coefficient of rolling resistance, the coefficient of friction, and the shear deformation modulus, which have terrain-dependent values. The dynamic models also include motor saturation and motor power limitations, which enable correct prediction of vehicle velocities when traversing on hills. It is shown that the closed-loop system that results from inclusion of the dynamics of the [proportional--integral--derivative (PID)] speed controllers for each set of wheels does a much better job than the open-loop model of predicting the vehicle linear and angular velocities. For a vehicle turning with small linear and angular accelerations, the model provides accurate predictions of velocities and reasonable predictions of torques. Hence, the closed-loop model is recommended for motion planning.
Date of Publication: April 2010