edited by: Bruno Siciliano, Oussama Khatib
The purpose of this chapter is to introduce, analyze, and compare the models of wheeled mobile robots (WMR) and to present several realizations and commonly encountered designs. The mobility of WMR is discussed on the basis of the kinematic constraints resulting from the pure rolling conditions at the contact points between the wheels and the ground. According to this discussion it is shown that, whatever the number and the types of the wheels, all WMR belong to only five generic classes. Different types of models are derived and compared: the posture model versus the configuration model, the kinematic model versus the dynamic model. The structural properties of these models are discussed and compared. These models as well as their properties constitute the background necessary for model-based control design. Practical robot structures are classified according to the number of wheels, and features are introduced focusing on commonly adopted designs. Omnimobile robots and articulated robots realizations are described in more detail.