Nonlinear Control Methods for Planar Carangiform Robot Fish

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K. A. Morgansen, V. Duindam, R. J. Mason, J. W. Burdick and R. M. Murray
Submitted, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, May 2001

This paper considers the design of motion control algorithms for robot fish. We present modeling, control design, and experimental trajectory tracking results for a planar robotic fish that is propelled using the carangiform style of locomotion. Our experimental apparatus consists of a freely translating and rotating flat plate and a two-link actuated tail. We develop a model for the fish's propulsion that is based on quasi-steady fluid flow. Using this model, we predict system response to sinusoidal motions of the tail joints and compare these predictions to the experimental results. We then propose gaits for forward and turning trajectories and analyze system response under such control strategies. Our models and predictions are verified by experiment.