The transportation of large-scale objects in a narrow space is a challenging, but useful application for mobile robots. We have developed a three-mobile-robot system to cooperatively lift, support, and transport a large object on a mobile robot system. To facilitate the manipulation involved with loading an object onto the robots, where the robots must maintain firm contact with the object and anchor at its location, we designed an adaptable mechanism for the object-loading platform and a liftable brake to ensure that the robot remains stationary when necessary. Furthermore, each robot is designed to act as an omnidirectional wheel; therefore, all three robots can work as an omnidirectional block when collectively loading an object. The kinematic constraints of the object–robot system and forward kinematics of the robots’ cooperative motion are proposed, and experiments are conducted to confirm the designed mechanisms and confirm that the robots can load an object and cooperatively transport it along the expected trajectory.

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Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics Open Issues

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