Pneumatic artificial muscles (PAMs) are an interesting type of actuators as they provide high power-to-weight and power-to-volume ratio. However, their efficient use requires very accurate control methods taking into account their complex and nonlinear dynamics. This paper considers a two degrees-of-freedom platform whose attitude is determined by three pneumatic muscles controlled by servovalves. An overactuation is present as three muscles are controlled for only two degrees-of-freedom. The contribution of this work is twofold. First, whereas most of the literature approaches the control of systems of similar nature with sliding mode control, we show that the platform can be controlled with the flatness-based approach. This method is a nonlinear open-loop controller. In addition, this approach is model-based, and it can be applied thanks to the accurate models of the muscles, the platform and the servovalves, experimentally developed. In addition to the flatness-based controller, which is mainly a feedforward control, a proportional-integral (PI) controller is added in order to overcome the modeling errors and to improve the control robustness. Second, we solve the overactuation of the platform by an adequate choice for the range of the efforts applied by the muscles. In this paper, we recall the basics of this control technique and then show how it is applied to the proposed experimental platform. At the end of the paper, the proposed approach is compared to the most commonly used control method, and its effectiveness is shown by means of experimental results.

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