Decentralized control of cooperating mobile manipulators

Thomas Sugar, Vijay Kumar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

87 Scopus citations


This paper addresses the design and control of autonomous mobile platforms manipulating and transporting a grasped object. Each platform is equipped with a manipulator arm. In order to hold an object in a stable grasp, the arms have to apply and maintain appropriate contact forces to ensure force closure. We describe an architecture and a real time control system that allow the coordinated control of multiple, heterogeneous, mobile manipulators. In this architecture, a lead robot plans, based on available sensory information, and follows a suitable trajectory. The other robots follow a desired formation with respect to the leader while maintaining a stable grasp. There are three main contributions in this paper. We present the real time control system and our approach to rapidly prototype the control code. We describe a novel, forklift-like arm and a control scheme that allows us to easily control the Cartesian stiffness or impedance. Finally, we describe the details of an experimental testbed and results that demonstrate the robustness of the control scheme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)078034300X
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes
Event15th IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 1998 - Leuven, Belgium
Duration: May 16 1998May 20 1998

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
ISSN (Print)1050-4729


Conference15th IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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