Dynamic control of steerable wheeled mobile platforms applied to an eight-wheeled RoboCup Middle Size League soccer robot

Wouter Houtman (Corresponding author), Cesar Lopez, Shiqian Wang, Arthur Ketels, Herman P.J. Bruyninckx, M.J.G. (René) van de Molengraft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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In the RoboCup Middle Size League two teams of mobile robots play soccer against each other. During the game, agility, i.e. the ability to quickly change the direction of platform movements, is important to react or anticipate fast on the intention of opponents to efficiently perform maneuvers like ball shielding and interception. Therefore, high accelerations are desired which ideally would ask all wheels to contribute to traction in the target direction. However none of the current omnidirectional wheel-based robots in the league offers such a feature. Each pair of wheels can rotate independently about its suspension axis . The new configuration brings new challenges in control: the platform becomes kinematically nonholonomic due to the kinematic constraints around the pivot axes, but it is shown that in the context of the driving task the controller can keep the wheel configurations such that they can generate a force and torque in the directions needed by the task. Hereby, the restriction to minimize the position-error in its three degrees of freedom with respect to a predefined trajectory is relaxed by taking only the degrees of freedom relevant for the task into consideration. A cascaded control strategy is proposed that combines kinematic and dynamic control and also addresses the control-allocation problem. Compared to a full kinematic approach as typically applied on steerable wheeled systems, 2.3 times higher translational and 1.8 times higher angular velocity are demonstrated. For the translational acceleration and angular acceleration, improvement factors of 2.7 and 3.2 are achieved, respectively. The platform made a successful debut during the RoboCup Portuguese Open 2019, showing the robustness of the proposed approach.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102693
Number of pages16
Early online date19 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


The authors would like to thank (1.) the Middle Size League team of Tech United Eindhoven for their contributions during the development and integration of this platform, (2.) the team of Rebocoon Bionics B.V. for the development and (firmware)-updates of the wheel sets, (3.) Sanders Machinebouw B.V. for assistance with the mechanical construction of the system and (4.) Speciaal Machinefabriek Ketels v.o.f. for assistance with the integration of the EtherCAT protocol.

FundersFunder number
Middle Size League team of Tech
Rebocoon Bionics B.V.


    • Cascaded control
    • Control of steerable wheeled systems
    • Control-allocation
    • Dynamic control
    • Eight-wheel-steer eight-wheel-drive
    • RoboCup Middle-Size League
    • Task-based control


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