Autonomous Navigation of a Tracked Mobile Robot with Novel Passive Bio-inspired Suspension

Zhengchao Li, Xingjian Jing, Bo Sun, Jinyong Yu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Most mobile robots have very simple passive suspension based on conventional mass-spring-damper methods, which bring a trade-off between loading capacity and vibration isolation. This study presents a tracked mobile robot with novel passive suspension, which is constructed by using a bio-inspired animal-limb-like structure, to guarantee both loading capacity and vibration isolation performance. With the novel bio-inspired suspension, the loading capacity, riding comfort and obstacle negotiation capability of the robot in various rough ground environments can be significantly enhanced. However, "soft suspension" may lead to "slippery track" due to rough terrain or irregular obstacles. To solve this problem, an advanced autonomous navigation is realized. A double layer nonlinear model predictive control (NMPC) architecture is adopted for optimizations of trajectory tracking. The global trajectory tracking is optimized in the upper layer NMPC at a low frequency, and the local dynamics such as slippage during obstacle negotiation is captured in the lower layer NMPC at a high frequency. Experimental results demonstrate that the novel passive suspension can efficiently absorb strong shock induced by obstacle crossing and hence guarantee smooth motion and the double layer NMPC can effectively improve transient response and tracking accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2020


  • Autonomous navigation
  • Model predictive control
  • Passive bio-inspired suspension
  • Tracked mobile robot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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