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Non-Linear Automatic Control of Autonomous Lawn Mower (Electrical Project)

This master thesis contains modeling and nonlinear automatic control of an autonomous lawn mower. The vehicle shall be able to follow a magnetic field loop buried in the lawn on an arbitrary distance, including straddling. A unicycle model of the lawn mower has been derived based on previous work. The model holds for the assumption of non slip environment.

Two different control strategies have been implemented and evaluated in this thesis. One is based on feedback linearization and with the feedback gain estimated using an LQ-controller. The other strategy is based on linearization at an equilibrium point and also with the use of an LQ-controller.

The only state that can be measured is the distance to the magnetic loop. In order to estimate the other states, an observer has been implemented using the linearized in an equilibrium point model and a Kalman filter. The navigation of the autonomous lawn mower is performed using a magnetic loop buried in the lawn. The non-linearity of the magnetic field causes difficulties when estimating the distance to the loop. One magnetic field strength corresponds to two distances to the magnetic loop. The nature of the magnetic field and the measurement noise causes the precision of the controller to be limited.

The conclusion of this master thesis is that it is possible to navigate and follow the magnetic loop at a distance greater than 0.3 [m], but with overshoots during sharp turns. If the reference distance is smaller than that, the behavior of the robot will be oscillating when following the loop. The limitations of the controller performance is due to the lack of information which can be extracted from the measurements of the magnetic field.
Source: Linköping University
Author: Dysenius, Hannah

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