Development of an omnidirectional robot base with coupled steering and wheel actuation

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Wilson, Jesse Maxx

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This work explores design and control considerations for a pseudo-omnidirectional robot base with independently steerable wheels, where the wheel and steering actuation for each wheel module are coupled through a mechanical differential. Often referred to as a Differential Swerve drive, this approach allows actuator power to be dynamically allocated between the steering and wheel axes by controlling the velocity average and velocity difference of the two system inputs. This allows robots to fully utilize all actuators during locomotion, resulting in improved efficiency in robot cost and weight. This work develops a new robot hardware platform which implements the Differential Swerve drive approach for use in a university-level robotics competition, examining domain-specific challenges in both mechanical and control design and presenting results tested on real-hardware.


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