Home Compatible Omnidirectional Hovercraft Robot
As robots slowly integrate into home environments, synthesis of navigation, maneuverability and human acceptance is inevitable. This paper introduces a holonomic hovercraft design and the associated omnidirectional controlling algorithm. Hovercraft capabilities were investigated and discussed though design recommendations in relation to a robot compatible environment. The main aim of the design was to achieve better maneuverability, enhanced capabilities of overcoming obstacles, and the elimination of the drift phenomena that is a characteristic of conventional underactuated hovercraft designs, where rear rotor drive exerts thrust in one direction. Due to own inertia and the low friction of the air cushion, the hovercraft slips out in the original direction. Beyond solving this drift problem, another key feature of our design is the capability to be controlled in a global reference frame regardless of its orientation and desired trajectory with the help of a holonomic thruster drive. Orientation control is also implemented by turning the base of the thrusters. The design was implemented on a remote controlled hovercraft robot and proved to have a superior maneuverability over conventional hovercraft designs, thus our research greatly contributes to future human-robot cooperation in the living environment.