Cobot control

Witaya Wannasuphoprasit*, R. Brent Gillespie, J. Edward Colgate, Michael A. Peshkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Cobots are a class of mechanically passive robotic devices, intended for direct physical collaboration with a human operator. The operator supplies all motive power while the cobot enforces software-defined guiding surfaces, or constraints. Cobots are intrinsically passive, safe devices. This is because, rather than employ powered actuators to produce constraint forces, cobots use `steerable' nonholonomic joints. Constraint forces are mechanical in origin, yet software defined. The simplest possible cobot is a unicycle which is steered by a servo system acting under computer control, but which is moved by a human operator. The unicycle cobot requires essentially no consideration of kinematics. Two fundamental control modes of the unicycle cobot, `virtual caster' and `constraint tracking', are reviewed. More complicated cobots, such as the three-wheeled `Scooter', require a set of kinematic transformations relating configuration space to joint space. These transformations play a role in cobot control like that of the jacobian in robot control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3571-3576
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
StatePublished - 1997
EventProceedings of the 1997 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA. Part 4 (of 4) - Albuquerque, NM, USA
Duration: Apr 20 1997Apr 25 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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