A Trajectory Tracking Control Based on a Terminal Sliding Mode for a Compliant Robot with Nonlinear Stiffness Joints

Zhibin Song*, Tianyu Ma, Keke Qi, Emmanouil Spyrakos-Papastavridis, Songyuan Zhang, Rongjie Kang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
52 Downloads (Pure)


A nonlinear stiffness actuator (NSA) can achieve high torque/force resolution in the low stiffness range and high bandwidth in the high stiffness range. However, for the NSA, due to the imperfect performance of the elastic mechanical component such as friction, hysteresis, and unmeasurable energy consumption caused by former factors, it is more difficult to achieve accurate position control compared to the rigid actuator. Moreover, for a compliant robot with multiple degree of freedoms (DOFs) driven by NSAs, the influence of every NSA on the trajectory of the end effector is different and even coupled. Therefore, it is a challenge to implement precise trajectory control on a robot driven by such NSAs. In this paper, a control algorithm based on the Terminal Sliding
Mode (TSM) approach is proposed to control the end effector trajectory of the compliant robot with multiple DOFs driven by NSAs. This control algorithm reduces the coupling of the driving torque, and mitigates the influence of parametric variation. The closed-loop system’s finite time convergence and stability are mathematically established via the Lyapunov stability theory. Moreover, under the same experimental conditions, by the comparison between the Proportion Differentiation (PD) controller and the controller using TSM method, the algorithm’s efficacy is experimentally verified on the developed compliant robot. The results show that the trajectory tracking is more accurate for the controller using the TSM method compared to the PD controller.
Original languageEnglish
Article number409
Issue number3
Early online date4 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2022


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