5) Design and Control of a Multiple Trailer System


Figure 10: A prototype of the passive trailer and motion control experimental results

A passive trailer system is a typical example of nonholonomic underactuated system and there are many interesting design and control issues. At the University of Tokyo, I have worked on the design of a chained form convertible trailer kinematics and control problem. A new passively steerable trailer system is designed and shown to have a high trajectory following performance as well as point to point control.   Recently, I am focusing on the practical aspects. In order to deal with various service task requirements, a trailer is selected as a modular mobile component for reconfigurability. Major research issues are 1) Kinematic design in order to minimize the trajectory following error with respect to the towing mobile robots path, 2) Automatic docking and releasing using visual estimation of trailer position, 3) A single trailer motion control when the floor cleaning equipment are put on the passive trailer. A backward motion control of a mobile robot with 3 trailers was successfully carried out in real experiment.

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