Nonholonomic navigation and control of cooperating mobile manipulators

Herbert G. Tanner, Savvas G. Loizou, Kostas J. Kyriakopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents the first motion planning methodology applicable to articulated, nonpoint nonholonomic robots with guaranteed collision avoidance and convergence properties. It is based on a new class of nonsmooth Lyapunov functions and a novel extension of the navigation function method to account for nonpoint articulated robots. The dipolar inverse Lyapunov functions introduced are appropriate for nonholonomic control and offer superior performance characteristics compared to existing tools. The new potential field technique uses diffeomorphic transformations and exploits the resulting point-world topology. The combined approach is applied to the problem of handling deformable material by multiple nonholonomic mobile manipulators in an obstacle environment to yield a centralized coordinating control law. Simulation results verify asymptotic convergence of the robots, obstacle avoidance, boundedness of object deformations, and singularity avoidance for the manipulators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-64
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2003


  • Cooperative mobile manipulators
  • Inverse Lyapunov functions
  • Nonholonomic motion planning
  • Potential fields

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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