Design of a Simulink Based Control Workstation for Mobile Wheeled Vehicles with Variable-Velocity Differential Motor Drives

About this Project

This website details the design efforts Kevin Block, Timothy De Pasion, Benjamin Roos, and Alexander Schmidt for the senior capstone project course in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of Bradley University.

Project Abstract

The purpose of this project is to design and implement a combination hardware/software workstation that will be utilized in the development and simulation of model-based controllers for differential drive systems. A differential drive system consisting of two direct current motors can be utilized in mobile wheeled vehicles for forward, reverse, and steering operating modes. Differential drive systems are plagued with nonlinear characteristics in low velocity control applications. Static and Coulomb friction are the most well documented of these nonlinear effects; however, cogging torque and encoder resolution can also have a significant role at low velocity. A common method of controlling differential drive systems is proportional, integral, and differential control (PID). When PID control is used in conjunction with a model-based design approach, the effects of the aforementioned nonlinear characteristics can be reduced. The hardware aspect of the workstation will include a microcontroller controlled differential drive vehicle mock-up with a pair of motor-generator sets to represent the vehicle dynamic model. The software aspect of the workstation will consist of a Simulink model of the entire experimental platform as well as the vehicle kinematic model. The two sides will interface with each other through a graphic user interface designed in MATLAB.