This paper presents a new adaptive control scheme for mechanical manipulators. Making use of the fundamental properties of the manipulator equations, an adaptive algorithm is developed for compensating a nonlinear term in the dynamic equations and for decoupling the dynamic interaction among the joints. A computer simulation study is conducted to evaluate the performance of a manipulator control system composed of the manipulator, adaptive nonlinear compensator/decoupling controller and state feedback controller with integral action. Simulation results show that the manipulator control system with adaptive controller is insensitive to variations of manipulator configurations and payload.

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