This article presents a novel kinematic model and controller design for a mobile robot with four Centered Orientable Conventional (COC) wheels. When compared to non-conventional wheels, COC wheels perform better over rough terrain, are not subject to vertical chatter and offer better braking capability. However, COC wheels are pseudo-omnidirectional and subject to nonholonomic constraints. Several established modeling and control techniques define and control the Instantaneous Center of Rotation (ICR); however, this method involves singular configurations that are not trivial to eliminate. The proposed method uses a novel ICR-based kinematic model to avoid these singularities, and an ICR-based nonlinear controller for one ‘master’ wheel. The other ‘slave’ wheels simply track the resulting kinematic relationships between the ‘master’ wheel and the ICR. Thus, the nonlinear control problem is reduced from 12th to 3rd-order, becoming much more tractable. Simulations with a feedback linearization controller verify the approach.

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