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Rover control based on an optimal torque distribution - Application to 6 motorized wheels passive rover

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6 Author(s)
Krebs, A. ; Autonomous Syst. Lab. (ASL), Swiss Fed. Inst. of Technol. Zurich (ETHZ), Zürich, Switzerland ; Risch, F. ; Thueer, T. ; Maye, J.
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The capability to overcome terrain irregularities or obstacles, named terrainability, is mostly dependant on the suspension mechanism of the rover and its control. For a given wheeled robot, the terrainability can be improved by using a sophisticated control, and is somewhat related to minimizing wheel slip. The proposed control method, named torque control, improves the rover terrainability by taking into account the whole mechanical structure. The rover model is based on the Newton-Euler equations and knowing the complete state of the mechanical structures allows us to compute the force distribution in the structure, and especially between the wheels and the ground. Thus, a set of torques maximizing the traction can be used to drive the rover. The torque control algorithm is presented in this paper, as well as tests showing its impact and improvement in terms of terrainability. Using the CRAB rover platform, we show that the torque control not only increases the climbing performance but also limits odometric errors and reduces the overall power consumption.

Published in:

Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2010 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on

Date of Conference:

18-22 Oct. 2010