Small unmanned ground vehicles risk rollover at high speeds. This paper proposes use of a manipulator arm on the robot in a dynamic weight-shifting arrangement to reduce rollover risk. A simple linear control law for dynamic weight-shifting of the manipulator arm is proposed. A linear dynamic model is used to analyze the effect of the arm design (link length, mass, etc.) on the roll dynamics, and a more complex nonlinear simulation in Simulink SimMechanics is used to evaluate roll reduction for various steering angles and velocities. Simulations given the same steering input with dynamic weight-shifting showed a roll reduction factor of 12%. For the same radius turn, a roll reduction factor of 29% was observed. A 50% reduction in steering angle was used to achieve a similar turning radius with dynamic weight-shifting activated. By increasing rollover stability, dynamic weight-shifting has the potential to increase safe operating speeds for mobile robots.

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