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Research articles

ScienceAsia 36 (2010): 333-341 |doi: 10.2306/scienceasia1513-1874.2010.36.333

Collaborative nonlinear model-predictive motion planning and control of mobile transport robots for a highly flexible production system

Suparchoek Wangmanaopituka,*, Holger Voosb, Waree Kongprawechnona

ABSTRACT:     This study is based on a new approach for an advanced microproduction system or highly flexible production systems where all necessary production and assembly processes are connected in a very flexible way using autonomous mobile transport and handling robots. Each robot has to follow its planned paths while avoiding collisions with other robots. In addition, problem-specific constraints for a defined microproduction system, such as limitations of the velocity and accelerations of the robots, have to be fulfilled. This paper focuses on a two-level model predictive optimizing approach. On a global long-term level, simple dynamic models of the robots are used to compute optimal paths under differential constraints where a safety distance between all robots is achieved. Since many uncertainties and unforeseen events could occur, all robots also use a nonlinear model predictive control approach on a local real-time level. This control approach solves the path following and the collision avoidance problems in parallel, while also taking into account differential constraints of the single robots.

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a School of Information, Computer and Communication Technology, Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology, Thammasat University, P.O. Box 22, Thammasat-Rangsit Post Office Pathum Thani 12121, Thailand
b Automatic Control Laboratory, Research Unit in Engineering, University of Luxembourg, Campus Kirchberg, 6 rue Coudenhove-Kalergi, L-1359, Luxembourg-Kirchberg

* Corresponding author, E-mail: suparchoek_w@yahoo.com

Received 24 May 2010, Accepted 19 Oct 2010