Modeling and Control of Robotic Snakes

GT-MAP Seminars
Friday, April 14, 2017 - 16:00
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 006
Robotic snakes have the potential to navigate areas or environments that would be more challenging for traditionally engineered robots. To realize their potential requires deriving feedback control and path planning algorithms applicable to the diverse gait modalities possible. In turn, this requires equations of motion for snake movement that generalize across the gait types and their interaction dynamics. This talk will discuss efforts towards both obtaining general control equations for snake robots, and controlling them along planned trajectories. We model three-dimensional time- and spatially-varying locomotion gaits, utilized by snake-like robots, as planar continuous body curves. In so doing, quantities relevant to computing system dynamics are expressed conveniently and geometrically with respect to the planar body, thereby facilitating derivation of governing equations of motion. Simulations using the derived dynamics characterize the averaged, steady-behavior as a function of the gait parameters. These then inform an optimal trajectory planner tasked to generate viable paths through obstacle-strewn terrain. Discrete-time feedback control successfully guides the snake-like robot along the planned paths.