Experiments in Exponential Stabilization of a Mobile Robot Towing a Trailer

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Robert M'Closkey and Richard M. Murray
1994 American Control Conference

In this paper we apply some recently developed control laws for stabilization of mechanical systems with nonholonomic constraints to an experimental system consisting of a mobile robot towing a trailer. We verify the applicability of various control laws which have appeared in the recent literature, and compare the performance of these controllers in an experimental setting. In particular, we show that time-periodic, non-smooth controllers can be used to achieve exponential stability of a desired equilibrium configuration, and that these controllers outperform smooth, time-varying control laws. We also point out several practical considerations which must be taken into account when implementing these controllers.