Sharma, Shashank; Kraetzschmar, Gerhard K. (Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, Sankt Augustin, Germany)
Scheurer, Christian; Bischoff, Rainer (KUKA Laboratories GmbH, Augsburg, Germany)
Mobile manipulators are of high interest to industry because of the increased flexibility and effectiveness they offer. The combination and coordination of the mobility provided by a mobile platform and of the manipulation capabilities provided by a robot arm leads to complex analytical problems for research. These problems can be studied very well on the KUKA youBot, a mobile manipulator designed for education and research applications. Issues still open in research include solving the inverse kinematics problem for the unified kinematics of the mobile manipulator, including handling the kinematic redundancy introduced by the holonomic platform of the KUKA youBot. As the KUKA youBot arm has only 5 degrees of freedom, a unified platform and manipulator system is needed to compensate for the missing degree of freedom. We present the KUKA youBot as an 8 degree of freedom serial kinematic chain, suggest appropriate redundancy parameters, and solve the inverse kinematics for the 8 degrees of freedom. This enables us to perform manipulation tasks more efficiently. We discuss implementation issues, present example applications and some preliminary experimental evaluation along with discussion about redundancies.