This chapter focuses on path tracking of a wheeled mobile manipulator designed for manufacturing processes such as drilling, riveting, or line drawing, which demand high accuracy. This problem can be solved by combining two approaches: improved localization and improved calibration. In the first approach, a full-scale kinematic equation is derived for calibration of each individual wheel’s geometrical parameters, as opposed to traditionally treating them identical for all wheels. To avoid the singularity problem in computation, a predefined square path is used to quantify the errors used for calibration considering the movement in different directions. Both statistical method and interval analysis method are adopted and compared for estimation of the calibration parameters. In the second approach, a vision-based deviation rectification solution is presented to localize the system in the global frame through a number of artificial reflectors that are identified by an onboard laser scanner. An improved tracking and localization algorithm is developed to meet the high positional accuracy requirement, improve the system’s repeatability in the traditional trilateral algorithm, and solve the problem of pose loss in path following. The developed methods have been verified and implemented on the mobile manipulators developed by Shanghai University.
Part of the book: Applications of Mobile Robots