Extensive growth of the soft robotics field has made possible the application of soft mobile robots for real world tasks such as search and rescue missions. Soft robots provide safer interactions with humans when compared to traditional rigid robots. Additionally, soft robots often contain more degrees of freedom than rigid ones, which can be beneficial for applications where increased mobility is needed. However, the limited number of studies for the autonomous navigation of soft robots currently restricts their application for missions such as search and rescue.
This paper presents a path following technique for a compliant origami crawling robot. The path following control adapts the well-known pure pursuit method to account for the geometric and mobility constraints of the robot. The robot motion is described by a kinematic model that transforms the outputs of the pure pursuit into the servo input rotations for the robot. This model consists of two integrated sub-models: a lumped kinematic model and a segmented kinematic model. The performance of the path following approach is demonstrated for a straight-line following simulation with initial offset. Finally, a feedback controller is designed to account for terrain or mission uncertainties.