Technical Reports (CIS)

Document Type

Technical Report

Date of this Version

January 1999


University of Pennsylvania Department of Computer and Information Science Technical Report No. MS-CIS-99-22.


In this paper we derive control algorithms for a class of dynamic nonholonomic steering problems, characterized as mechanical systems with nonholonomic constraints and symmetries. Recent research in geometric mechanics has led to a single, simplified framework that describes this class of systems, which includes examples such as wheeled mobile robots; undulatory robotic and biological locomotion systems, such as paramecia, inchworms, and snakes; and the reorientation of satellites and underwater vehicles. This geometric framework has also been applied to more unusual examples, such as the snakeboard robot, bicycles, the wobblestone, and the reorientation of a falling cat. We use this geometric framework as a basis for developing two types of control algorithms for such systems. The first is geared towards local controllability, using a perturbation approach to establish results similar to steering using sinusoids. The second method utilizes these results in applying more traditional steering algorithms for mobile robots, and is directed towards generating more non-local control methods of steering for this class of systems.



Date Posted: 21 June 2007