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Model-free Control for Continuum Robots Based on an Adaptive Kalman Filter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Minhan Li, Rongjie Kang, David T. Branson, Jian S. Dai

Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Early online date20 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018

King's Authors


Continuum robots with structural compliance have a promising potential to operate in unstructured environments. However, this structural compliance brings challenges to the controller design due to the existence of considerable uncertainties in the robot and its kinematic model. Typically, a large number of sensors are required to provide the controller the state variables of the robot, including the length of each actuator and position of the robot tip. In this paper, a model-free method based on an adaptive Kalman filter is developed to accomplish path tracking for a continuum robot using only pressures and tip position. As the Kalman filter operates only with a two-step algebraic calculation in every control interval, the low computational load and real time control capability are guaranteed. By adding an optimal vector to the control law, buckling of the robot can also be avoided. Through simulation analysis and experimental validation, this control method shows good robustness against the system uncertainty and external disturbance, and lowers the amount of sensors.

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