Design, Analysis, Planning, and Control of a Novel Modular Self-Reconfigurable Robotic System


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Virginia Tech


This dissertation describes the design, analysis, planning, and control of a self-reconfigurable modular robotic system. The proposed robotic system mainly contains three major types of robotic modules: load carrier, manipulation module, and locomotion module. Each module is capable of navigation and interaction with the environment individually. In addition, the robotic system is proposed to reassemble autonomously into various configurations to perform complex tasks such as humanoid configuration to enable enhanced functionality to reconfigure into a configuration that would enable the system to cross over a ditch. A non-back drivable active docking mechanism with two Degrees of Freedom (DOFs) was designed to fit into the tracked units of the robot modules for achieveing the reconfiguration. The quantity and location of the docking mechanisms are customizable and selectable to satisfy various mission requirements and adapt to different environments. During the reconfiguration process, the target coupling mechanism of each module reconfigurable with each other autonomously. A Lyapunov function-based precision controller was developed to align the target docking mechanisms in a close range and high precision for assembling the robot modules autonomously into other configurations.

Additionally, an trajectory optimization algorithm was developed to help the robot determine when to switch the locomotion modes and find the fastest path to the destination with the desired pose.



Modular robotics, Self-reconfiguration, Trajectory optimization