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Simplified Motion Modeling for Snake Robots

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journal contribution
posted on 01.05.2012 by Florian Enner, David Rollinson, Howie Choset

We present a general method of estimating a snake robot's motion over flat ground using only knowledge of the robot's shape changes over time. Estimating world motion of snake robots is often difficult because of the complex way a robot's cyclic shape changes (gaits) interact with the surrounding environment. By using the virtual chassis to separate the robot's internal shape changes from its external motions through the world, we are able to construct a motion model based on the differential motion of the robot's modules between time steps. In this way, we effectively treat the snake robot like a wheeled robot where the bottom-most modules propel the robot in much the way the bottom of the wheels would propel the chassis of a car. Experimental results using a 16-DOF snake robot are presented to demonstrate the effectiveness of this method for a variety of gaits that have been designed to traverse flat ground.

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01/05/2012

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