In comparison to wheeled robots, spherical mobile robots offer greater mobility, stability, and scope for operation in hazardous environments. Inspite of these advantages, spherical designs have failed to gain popularity due to complexity of their motion planning and control problems. In this paper, we address the motion planning problem for the rolling sphere, often referred in the literature as the “ball-plate problem,” and propose two different algorithms for reconfiguration. The first algorithm, based on simple geometry, uses a standard kinematic model and invokes alternating inputs to obtain a solution comprised of circular arcs and straight line segments. The second algorithm is based on the Gauss-Bonet theorem of parallel transport and achieves reconfiguration through spherical triangle maneuvers. While the second algorithm is inherently simple and provides a solution comprised of straight line segments only, the first algorithm provides the basis for development of a stabilizing controller. Our stabilizing controller, which will be presented in our next paper, will be the first solution to a problem that has eluded many researchers since the kinematic model of the sphere cannot be converted to chained form. Both our algorithms require numerical computation of a small number of parameters and provide the scope for easy implementation.
Motion Planning for a Spherical Mobile Robot: Revisiting the Classical Ball-Plate Problem
Contributed by the Dynamic Systems and Control Division of THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERS for publication in the ASME JOURNAL OF DYNAMIC SYSTEMS, MEASUREMENT, AND CONTROL. Manuscript received by the ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Division, July 2000; final revision, March 2002. Associate Editor: Y. Hurmuzlu.
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Mukherjee, R., Minor, M. A., and Pukrushpan, J. T. (December 16, 2002). "Motion Planning for a Spherical Mobile Robot: Revisiting the Classical Ball-Plate Problem ." ASME. J. Dyn. Sys., Meas., Control. December 2002; 124(4): 502–511. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1513177
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