Departmental Papers (MEAM)

Document Type

Journal Article

Subject Area


Date of this Version



Suggested Citation:
Sugar, Thomas G. and Vijay Kumar. (2002). Control of Cooperating Mobile Manipulators. IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation, Vol. 18(1). p. 94 - 103.

©2002 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE.


We describe a framework and control algorithms for coordinating multiple mobile robots with manipulators focusing on tasks that require grasping, manipulation and transporting large and possibly flexible objects without special purpose fixtures. Because each robot has an independent controller and is autonomous, the coordination and synergy are realized through sensing and communication. The robots can cooperatively transport objects and march in a tightly controlled formation, while also having the capability to navigate autonomously. We describe the key aspects of the overall hierarchy and the basic algorithms, with specific applications to our experimental testbed consisting of three robots. We describe results from many experiments that demonstrate the ability of the system to carry flexible boards and large boxes as well as the system’s robustness to alignment and odometry errors.


Compliance, locomotion and grasping, mobile robot cooperation



Date Posted: 01 September 2010

This document has been peer reviewed.