This paper presents a geometric approach for solving the force distribution problem in active wheeled vehicles (AWVs) moving on even and uneven surfaces. In general, AWVs do not possess omni-directional mobility and they do not have sufficient actuators to directly control all the components of the wheel-ground contact forces. This situation requires the separation of the contact force vectors into active and passive components. An optimal contact force allocation algorithm can then be developed for these systems. The concepts introduced in this article are demonstrated via simple planar examples and by using an active off-road vehicle with slip-free motion capability. Off-road kinematic/static simulations of AWVs and force controlled legged vehicles (FCLVs) are presented and a comparison of these results provides interesting insight into partial force controllability characteristics of AWVs.

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