Control of cooperating mobile manipulators

Thomas Sugar, Vijay Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


We describe a framework and control algorithms for coordinating multiple mobile robots with manipulators focusing on tasks that require grasping, manipulation and transporting large and possibly flexible objects without special purpose fixtures. Because each robot has an independent controller and is autonomous, the coordination and synergy are realized through sensing and communication. The robots can cooperatively transport objects and march in a tightly controlled formation, while also having the capability to navigate autonomously. We describe the key aspects of the overall hierarchy and the basic algorithms, with specific applications to our experimental testbed consisting of three robots. We describe results from many experiments that demonstrate the ability of the system to carry flexible boards and large boxes as well as the system's robustness to alignment and odometry errors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-103
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2002


  • Compliance
  • Locomotion and grasping
  • Mobile robot cooperation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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