The Chaplygin sleigh is a canonical problem of mechanical systems with nonholonomic constraints, which arises due to the role of friction. The motion of the cart has often been studied under the assumption that the magnitude of friction is as high as necessary to prevent slipping. We relax this assumption by setting a maximum finite value to the friction. The Chaplygin sleigh is then under a piecewise smooth nonholonomic constraint and transitions between ‘slip’ and ‘stick’ modes. We investigate these transitions and the resulting non smooth dynamics of the system. Further more the piecewise smooth constraint offers the possibility of controlling the speed of the sleigh and we investigate this with numerical simulations.

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