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We investigate issues of control and motion planning for a biomimetic robotic system. Previous work has shown that a successful approach to solving the motion planning problem is to decouple it into the two subproblems of trajectory generation (feedforward controls) and feedback regulation. In this paper, we investigate basic issues of momentum generation for a class of dynamic mobile robots, focusing on eel-like swimming robots. We develop theoretical justification for a forward gait that has been observed in nature, and for a turning gait, used in our control laws, that has not been extensively studied in the biological literature. We also explore theoretical predictions for novel gaits for turning and sideways swimming. Finally, we present results from experiments in motion planning for a biomimetic robotic system. We show good agreement with theory for both open and closed-loop control of our modular, five-link, underwater swimming robot using image-based position sensing in an aquatic environment.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2003