Behaviors for Non-Holonomic Box-Pushing Robots

Rosemary Emery and Tucker Balch

We describe a behavior-based control system that enables a non-holonomic robot to push an object from an arbitrary starting position to a goal location through an obstacle field. The approach avoids the need for maintaining an internal model of the target and obstacles and the potentially high computational overhead associated with traditional path planning approaches for non-holonomic robots. The motor schema-based control system was prototyped in simulation, then tested on mobile robots. The approach was demonstrated in two pushing tasks: box pushing and ball dribbling. Using the same generalized control system, a robot is able to successfully push a box through a static obstacle field and dribble a ball into a goal during RoboCup soccer matches. In both cases the robot is able to react quickly and recover from situations where it loses control of its target either due to its own motion or interference with others. Quantitative experimental results for reliability in box pushing are included.

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