Velocity Control of a Cylindrical Rolling Robot by Shape Changing


A rolling robot is developed that possesses an elliptically shaped outer surface with the ability to change shape as it rolls, resulting in a gravity-powered torque imbalance that accelerates or brakes the robot's motion. Angular position and velocity are measured onboard and used as feedback control to trigger and define shape change actuation. Goal of the control is to direct the robot to follow a given step angular velocity profile. An equation of motion for the rolling robot is derived and solved numerically, and simulations are compared to velocity data from roll trials of the actual robot. Results show that when the robot is given a set of advantageous initial conditions, it is able to accelerate from rest, maintain constant average velocity, and brake its motion in order to follow a desired velocity profile with significant accuracy.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Gravity-Powered Locomotion; Rolling Robot; Shape Change; Velocity Control

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0169-1864; 1568-5535

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2016 Taylor & Francis and The Robotics Society of Japan, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Dec 2016