2010 年 46 巻 6 号 p. 317-326
This paper presents a new type of coupled-vehicle system: a five-axle, three-steering coupled-vehicle system and its path following feedback control law. The coupled-vehicle system consists of two car-like mobile robots, two carriers and a steering system. One of the two car-like mobile robots is coupled by one of the two carriers via a revolute joint passively rotating and the other car-like mobile robot is also coupled by one remaining carrier via a passive revolute joint, and the two carriers are coupled via another passive revolute joint. The steering system is attached to one of the carriers and its steering axis is located at the same position of the rotating axis of the passive revolute joint coupling the two carriers. We first show that, by assuming virtual mechanical elements, it is possible to convert the kinematical equation of the coupled-vehicle system into three-chain, single-generator chained form in a coordinate system in which a path two times differentiable is an axis and a straight line perpendicular to the tangent of the path is another axis. Based on chained form, we secondly derive the path following feedback control law which enables the orientations of the two carriers relative to the tangent of the path to be controllable. By the feedback control law, it is possible to cause the two carriers to form a line-shaped composed carrier or a V-shaped composed carrier and to cause them to keep such shapes while performing a path following behavior, which means that the coupled-vehicle system is able to adapt the shape of the composed carrier to the shape of a transported object. The validity of the mechanical design of the coupled-vehicle system and its path following feedback control law has been verified experimentally.