Modeling and control of a snake-like robot using the screw-drive mechanism

Hiroaki Fukushima, Shogo Satomura, Toru Kawai, Motoyasu Tanaka, Tetsushi Kamegawa, Fumitoshi Matsuno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we develop a new type of snake-like robot using screw-drive units that are connected by active joints. The screw-drive units enable the robot to generate propulsion on any side of the body in contact with environments. Another feature of this robot is the omnidirectional mobility by combinations of screws angular velocities. We also derive a kinematic model and apply it to trajectory tracking control. Furthermore, we design a front-unit-following controller, which is suitable for manual operations. In this control system, operators are required to command only one unit in the front; then, commands for the rest of the units are automatically calculated to track the path of the preceding units. Asymptotic convergence of the tracking error of the front-unit-following controller is analyzed based on a Lyapunov approach for the case of constant curvature. The effectiveness of the control method is demonstrated by numerical examples and experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6144056
Pages (from-to)541-554
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Path tracking
  • screw-drive mechanism
  • search and rescue
  • snake-like robot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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