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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name



Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Nabil Chalhoub


The current work deals with the development of enabling technologies for the autonomous operation of mobile robots. A perception system, based on a laser range finder sensor, has been developed in order to enable the robot to construct a 3-D map of its surrounding along with a projected free space configuration map. The latter is then used by a computationally efficient path planning algorithm that will yield the shortest possible route between the current and a user-defined final position of the robot.

The control problem is compounded by the under-actuated configuration of the robot. This issue is dealt with by integrating a guidance system with a nonlinear robust controller. The guidance system is based on the concepts of the line-of-sight (LOS) with the acceptance radius. It empowers the controller to simultaneously deal with the cross-track error while yielding the proper orientation of the robot. Both theoretical and experimental results prove the viability of the proposed approach and demonstrate the robustness of the controller to significant modeling imprecision.

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