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Journal of Robotics
Volume 2011, Article ID 621879, 14 pages
Research Article

Design and Steering Control of a Center-Articulated Mobile Robot Module

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada N6A 5B9

Received 3 July 2011; Accepted 3 November 2011

Academic Editor: Yangmin Li

Copyright © 2011 Mehdi Delrobaei and Kenneth A. McIsaac. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper discusses the design and steering control for an autonomous modular mobile robot. The module is designed with a center-articulated steering joint to minimize the number of actuators used in the chain. We propose a feedback control law which allows steering between configurations in the plane and show its application as a parking control to dock modules together. The control law is designed by Lyapunov techniques and relies on the equations of the robot in polar coordinates. A set of experiments have been carried out to show the performance of the proposed approach. The design is intended to endow individual wheeled modules with the capability to merge and make a single snake-like robot to take advantage of the benefits of modular robotics.