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Mobile platforms available for use in robotic systems vary enormously in their mobility and in their control characteristics. In particular, the characteristics which are desirable in an autonomous vehicle for unstructured terrain are quite different from those which are optimum in a vehicle for partially structured terrain, such as road following, or for a mobile platform for use in a highly structured factory environment. The controlled degrees of freedom of the platform impact the manner in which it can be used. Platforms with articulated steering are severely limited in situations, such as mobile industrial robot service, in which lateral motion may be desirable.