Trajectory Tracking Controller Design for Unmanned Vehicles: A New Methodology

Fernando Auat Cheein, Gustavo Scaglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


A major issue in the automatic guidance of vehicles is the design of control laws dedicated to the specific mobile platform used. Thus, if the model associated with the mobile platform or its constraints change, a new control law must be designed. In this paper, the problem of designing trajectory tracking controllers for unmanned vehicles is addressed. The methodology proposed here is an algebraic approach for obtaining optimum and stable trajectory tracking controllers for nonholonomic vehicles. Such an algebraic formulation makes the proposal suitable for embedded applications. The stability and optimality of the proposed controllers design method is theoretically proven for both bicycle-type and unicycle-type mobile robots, although the methodology can be extended to other types of unmanned vehicles. Four tests were carried out in this work in order to show the advantages of the proposal: the step discontinuity test, the curvature test, the real world test, and navigation under disturbances in the control actions. The results obtained were compared with four trajectory tracking controllers previously published in the literature. Additionally, an agricultural application is included in order to show the performance of the proposed controller when applied to a service unit within an agricultural environment. Field experiments demonstrating the capabilities of our proposal are also reported and discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)861-887
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Field Robotics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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