Many robot applications require mobility in constrained spaces and a high degree of flexibility. This paper describes the development of an autonomous serpentine robot. This robot is a 12 degree of freedom, untethered, hyper-redundant planar robot, named Kaa. Experiments were conducted in its application to mobility tasks that would be useful in locomotion among parallel pipe structures similar to those found in industrial plants. Kaa utilizes a behavior control system. Unlike classical approaches, that decompose the control system functionally, behavior control approaches decompose the control system by task. This control scheme requires very little computation; Kaa uses two 8-bit, 1 MIP microprocessors with a total of 36 Kbytes of memory. Only simple tactile sensing is employed; the distances between objects in the environment and the robot are neither implicitly modeled nor explicitly sensed by the robot. The behavior control system developed allowed this robot to reliably perform complex autonomous mobility and manipulation tasks with limited computation and sensing resources.
Rajiv Desai, Charles Rosenberg and Joseph Jones, "Kaa: An Autonomous Serpentine Robot Utilizes Behavior Control", IROS '95, vol. 3, pp. 250-255, August 1995.
PDF version of the paper (500K) or compressed postscript (573K) version.
PDF version of the slides (1.7M) I presented at the conference or compressed postscript version of the postscript (1.2M) version.