Design of a Mobile Robotic Platform with Variable Footprint
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This thesis presents an in-depth investigation to determine the most suitable mobile base design for a powerful and dynamic robotic manipulator. It details the design process of such a mobile platform for use in an indoor human environment that is to carry a two-arm upper-body humanoid manipulator system. Through systematic dynamics analysis, it was determined that a variable footprint holonomic wheeled mobile platform is the design of choice for such an application. Determining functional requirements and evaluating design options is performed for the platform’s general configuration, geometry, locomotion system, suspension, and propulsion, with a particularly in-depth evaluation of the problem of overcoming small steps. Other aspects such as processing, sensing and the power system are dealt with sufficiently to ensure the feasibility of the overall proposed design. The control of the platform is limited to that necessary to determine the appropriate mechanical components. Simulations are performed to investigate design problems and verify performance. A basic CAD model of the system is included for better design visualization. The research carried out in this thesis was performed in cooperation with the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt)’s Robotics and Mechatronics Institute (DLR RM). The DLR RM is currently utilizing the findings of this research to finish the development of the platform with a target completion date of May 2008.