Hybrid Trajectory Optimization for Autonomous Terrain Traversal of Articulated Tracked Robots

by   Zhengzhe Xu, et al.
Tsinghua University
Harbin Institute of Technology

Autonomous terrain traversal of articulated tracked robots can reduce operator cognitive load to enhance task efficiency and facilitate extensive deployment. We present a novel hybrid trajectory optimization method aimed at generating smooth, stable, and efficient traversal motions. To achieve this, we develop a planar robot-terrain interaction model and partition the robot's motion into hybrid modes of driving and traversing. By using a generalized coordinate description, the configuration space dimension is reduced, which provides real-time planning capability. The hybrid trajectory optimization is transcribed into a nonlinear programming problem and solved in a receding-horizon planning fashion. Mode switching is facilitated by associating optimized motion durations with a predefined traversal sequence. A multi-objective cost function is formulated to further improve the traversal performance. Additionally, map sampling, terrain simplification, and tracking controller modules are integrated into the autonomous terrain traversal system. Our approach is validated in simulation and real-world experiments with the Searcher robotic platform, effectively achieving smooth and stable motion with high time and energy efficiency compared to expert operator control.


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