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Control strategy for a mobile self‐balancing materials handling platform

Louwrens J. Butler (School of Mechanical Engineering, University of KwaZulu‐Natal, Durban, South Africa)
Glen Bright (School of Mechanical Engineering, University of KwaZulu‐Natal, Durban, South Africa)

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology

ISSN: 1726-0531

Article publication date: 30 March 2010

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the structure of the control strategy that is being deployed on the control of the mobile materials handling platform, from the higher level onboard interface software to the low‐level control system that is tasked with the dynamic stability of the platform.

Design/methodology/approach

The application of the principle of the inverted pendulum in mobile robotics has only recently been made possible by advances in the technology of electronics. A mobile materials handling platform has been designed and built for use in manufacturing systems of the future. The principle of the inverted pendulum has been incorporated into the design. This means that the platform is able to maintain dynamic stability during specific periods of operation. The mechatronic engineering approach was adopted in the design of the platform, which produced an integrated embedded system.

Findings

Open source software being implemented onboard the platform for interfacing between the platform and remote client computers is found to be easily customisable according to the requirements of one's application. A solution to the problem of nonholonomic motion constraints that concern any differential drive mobile robot was found in a nonlinear state transformation algorithm. The algorithm was implemented on an intermediate level between the interface software and the low‐level control system. The low‐level feedback control system was designed using a linear quadratic regulator design method. Simulations of this control system showed that it was robust enough to reject predetermined disturbances in system characteristics.

Originality/value

The application of a mobile platform specifically designed for materials handling based on the principle of the inverted pendulum has not been attempted to date.

Keywords

Citation

Butler, L.J. and Bright, G. (2010), "Control strategy for a mobile self‐balancing materials handling platform", Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 6-27. https://doi.org/10.1108/17260531011034628

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited