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Proceedings of 2008 IEEE International Conference on

Mechatronics and Automation

Controller Design of a Two-Wheeled Inverted Pendulum
Mobile Robot
Jingtao Li, Xueshan Gao, Qiang Huang, Osamu Matsumoto

AbstractThe differential driven two-wheeled inverted

pendulum mobile robot has advantage of high
maneuverability, which can maintain the balance on slopes and
rough terrain and can pivot around a the central axis of its
body in narrow spaces. It can be used to carry human beings
as well as other goods. This paper studies the method of path
planning for this robot in the known environments. The path
planner based on optimization is proposed. This planner takes
full account of the distance and angle between the robot and
the target, velocity and obstacles to the navigation evaluation
function, and then formulates the path planning problem in the
discrete optimization problem. On the current state of robot,
the range of input is determined by dynamic window, then the
avoidance obstacles optimization input is solved by genetic
algorithm. In this paper, the relationship of the target and
obstacles is also accounted. Numerical simulations were
performed to illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed
planner in static, moving obstacles and dynamic object
tracking, respectively. Through the simulation research and
experiments, it is shown that the robot can be confirmed as
mobile platform for transporting human and goods.


HE human assisting robots have been used in industry

and hazardous environments for a long time. Simple and
lightweight vehicles are expected to emerge as personal
ground transportation devices [1]. The motorcycle, electric
wheelchair, motor-powered bicycle, etc. have been
developed and are useful for facilitating human
transportation. However, such devices are neither small nor
light, making it difficult to carry or store them in small
spaces. The environments where human being perform task
includes narrow spaces, slopes etc. The robot characteristics
for such environments should be small size, light weight,
low power consumer and capability to carry load.
Two-Wheeled Inverted Pendulum Mobile Robot are well
suited for traversing narrow spaces, slopes etc. Its

Manuscript received March 10, 2008. This work was supported in part
by The High Technology Research and Development Program (863
Program) from The Ministry of Science and Technology of China under
Grant 2008AA04Z208.
Jingtao Li is Ph.D candidate of Intelligent Robotics Institute, Beijing
Institute of Technology, Beijing, China (e-mail:
Xueshan Gao is the corresponding author, Mem. IEEE, associate
professor of Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China (phone:
86-10-68915903; fax: 86-10-68915812; e-mail: xueshan.gao@
Qiang huang is a professor of Intelligent Robotics Intelligent Robotics
Institute, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China (e-mail: qhuang@
Osamu Matsumoto is with the Intelligent Systems Institute, National
Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan

978-1-4244-2632-4/08/$25.00 2008 IEEE

characteristics include compact size, light weight and lower

energy consumption. The design of this robot shares some
similarities with the other mobile robots like Joe [6], the
Segway [8] and the PMP [2-3].
SEGWAY, the personnel transporting mechanic, is one of
the wheeled inverted pendulum system. The Segway was
recently developed and it is on the market. It has only two
coaxially mounted wheels and a steering bar. Its method of
propulsion is a kind of wheeled inverted pendulum that can
be balanced by the driving force of each of the two wheels to
stabilize the whole system including the rider. Forward and
backward movement control is achieved by the riders
shifting of his center of gravity (COG), and the vehicle is
steered by manual throttle mechanism. However, the total
weight is approximately 38 kg, which is too heavy to carry
away by user. The PMP is another type of a personal vehicle
that consists only of two wheels and a standing base for the
rider, without a steering bar. It is smaller and lighter as
compared to Segway.
The Segway and the PMP are made for personal riding,
both have only one mode: traveling control (running and
steering control) based on shifting of riders COG [3]. They
can not work in semi-autonomous and the remotely control

Fig. 1. Two-wheeled inverted pendulum mobile robot human-transporting


The design objective is to build a new robotic platform
capable of performing in narrow spaces. The design includes
the following four main features:
1. Small size, light weight, compactness.
2. It is differentially driven system so the robot can turn
around at one point, and it can be used in narrow spaces.
3. The layout of the robot is symmetrical.

4. Two auxiliary wheels support is provided to become

more security.
5. Load transportability.
6. Carrying by a single person.
In this research a mobile robot with a
two-coaxial-wheeled structure, as shown in Fig.2 is
designed and developed. The design has two independent
wheels attached to the rectangular frame. The symmetrical
layout is designed by locating the two actuated wheels in
both left and right side of the chassis and two auxiliary
wheels on front and rear. The auxiliary wheels ensure the
robots safety when it is in faulty or in abnormal condition.

Tele-operation Computer

Wireless Serial Interface Module

Mode Choice

Master Control

Motor 1 Control

Data Conditioning

Motor 2 Control



Fig. 2. Two-Wheeled Inverted Pendulum Mobile Robot

This robot is an integration of mechanical, electrical and

high level electronics and computer components.
Modularity at the mechanical and control structure is the key
design issues and are considered concurrently during the
design process resulting in a sophisticated mobile robotic
The robot offers several interesting features regarding
sensors and control design. The robot is equipped with two
DC drives for actuation, a rate gyro and an accelerometer for
measuring the angle and angular velocity of the pendulum
body respectively. Encoders are used for measuring the
rotation of the wheels.
Considering all the capabilities and characteristics that the
robot should have, the design requires a comprehensive
In order to have automatic stabilizing control, the robot
must be equipped with appropriate sensors and actuators.
The choices of sensors and actuators, and associated
algorithms, will inevitably impose constraints on achievable
Two DC-drives are used to actuate the robot. In order to
increase torque, a standards solution is harmonic drive gear
system, which was found to effectively eliminating the
back-lash problem.
Fig. 3 shows the structure of integrated control system
that is used in the robot and the tele-operated control station.
The whole hardware system includes two parts: Control
System and teleoperation control system.


Drivers 1

Drivers 2

Fig. 3. Block Diagram of Control System

The use of a rate gyro in combination with an

accelerometer is a standard configuration for inertial sensing
system, which is needed in this application to estimate the
angle and angular velocity of the robot body. Wheeled
inverted pendulum system certainly has chassis angle
detecting sensors and gyroscope sensor is one of them. The
recent gyroscope what we can take is angular velocity output
style not the angular style so that the output of angular
velocity can be easily applied to the controller. In order to
measure the wheel angles, encoders were used. Since good
angle and angular velocity information is crucial for
stabilization of the system, the digital encoder of 2000
counts per revolution is used.
Exact physical modeling of the rider is very difficult,
when the motion speed of the robot is faster than normal
human, the model is not necessary for the control methods in
this case. Therefore, we assumed the rider is rigidly fixed on
the robot. The robot with a standing human rider, as shown
in Fig. 4, is considered as a kind of wheeled inverted




Rr 2 M + w + m


2k k
m e


2M + w + m
Rr 2 M + w + m


In the model above, it is assumed that the wheels of the
vehicle will always stay in contact with the ground and that
there is no slippage for the wheels[7]. Effects of all the other
forces are also considered negligible.

Fig. 4. Free body diagram of the robot

: mass of the drivable wheel

m : mass of the robots chassis with rider

w : rotation angle of the wheels

r : radius of the wheel
C L, R
f L, R


: applied torque from the motors to the wheels

: friction forces between the ground and the wheels

: rotation angle of the chassis

l : distance between the centers of the wheel and chassis

The idea of this robot is a derived from an inverted

pendulum. The problem of inverted pendulum has been the
subject of numerous studies in automatic controls [7].
Considering the uses in narrow space or on slope, the
dynamic model of the robot must be accurate and
Two-wheeled inverted pendulum mobile robot with a
non-stable structure consists of two wheels and a chassis
with rider or goods together making a pendulum. Fig.4
shows the free body diagram of the robot with a rider.
The equations of motions are derived as follows:
2k k
m e
Rr(I + ml 2 )
I + ml 2

R(I + ml 2 )
I + ml 2

The linear state space equation for the system is obtained

as follow,
. 0
x 2k k (mlr I ml 2 )
m gl
m e
.. 0


. = 0



.. 0
m e

Rr 2 

2 k (I + ml 2 mlr)

m c

2k (ml r)


= I + 2ml 2 M + w



= 2M + w + m

A human can stand on the robot in various poses, e.g.

placing both feet just upon the axle of the wheels, placing
one foot in a forward position and the other foot in a
backward position compared with the axle of the wheels, etc.
This makes it difficult to model the mechanism for
generating ankle torque. The impedance model of the ankle
joint in the case of the standing pose was proposed [3].

In this paper, some variables of the robot are described in

Table I.

M (kg)
I w (kg*m^2)
r (m)
m (kg)
I c (kg*m^2)
k m ( N m/A)
k e ( V s/rad)



mass of the drivable wheel


moment of inertia of the wheel


radius of the wheel

mass of the robots chassis and rider


moment of inertia of the chassis and rider


torque constant


back of constant



nominal resistance


l (m)

distance between COG of wheel and rider


Then the state space equation is,

x 0
0 . 0
x 0 0.0653 154.32 0 x 0.2819

. = 0
1  0

.. 0 0.0794 202.00 0  0.3427

Fig. 5. Responses of wheel-velocity, tilting angle

and tilting angular velocity

According to Fig.5, chassis recover the balanced state

within 0.7 seconds.

There could be many methods to determine the
advantages of control from state variable feedback
controller. As mentioned above, wheeled inverted pendulum
system is controllable so the extreme point can be
determined optionally. One of a method to determine the
advantage of a control systematically is Pole-placement
control. The pole of the system is located at P,
P = [- 10 + 5j - 10 - 5j - 12 + 4j - 12 - 4j]
The feedback gains matrix K is obtained,
K = [- 4936.2 - 1530.5 6881.3 1386.9]

Discretizes the continuous-time model sys using

zero-order hold on the inputs and the sample time Ts is 0.02
seconds, the discrete-time model sys is obtained,
x 1.2066 0.0855 0.2712 0.0600 x
. 0

x 17.5267 6.6398 23.3512 5.1957 x 0.0036

. = 0.2513 0.0797
.0.529  0.0001

.. 21.3361 6.8655 28.1381 5.3218 0.0043

It gives a good transient response to the system. Fig.5
shows the simulation when an impulse input is applied to the


Fig. 6. Screen shot of the robot in V-realm builder

To help develop the mathematical model and test the

control law, a virtual reality model of the two-wheeled
inverted pendulum mobile robot with a rider has been
created as shown in Figure.6. The model is a VRML file
which is a basic approximation of the pendulums geometry.
It can be accessed in Matlab Simulink. This virtual model
allows the designers to observe the system before it has been
built. It has already been used to observe the mathematical
model of the system. It could also be used to follow actual
system behaviors where the input to the virtual robot comes
directly from system measurements. It was anticipated that
the virtual robot could be used in running real time

Fig. 7. Experiments for transporting goods

Fig. 8. Experiments for transporting human: run forward

Fig. 9. Experiments for transporting human: run backward

A. Experiments for transporting goods
1) Stand and disturbance
As Fig.7, a wooden box is fixed on the robot. When
starting the controller, the robot keeps balance. Fig.10 shows
the ability of anti-disturbance.

Fig. 11. Experimental results of transporting goods: run

B. Experiments for transporting human

1) Run forward and backward

Fig. 10. Experimental results of transporting goods: stand

2) Run
Fig.7 shows the experiments of transporting goods, the
robot works in the remotely controlled mode. Fig. 11 shows
the experimental results, after coming balance, velocity of
the robot is minus, therefore, the robot run backward.
Fig. 12. Experimental results of transporting human: run forward



Fig. 13. Experimental results of transporting human: run backward

Fig. 12 and Fig.13 show the experiments of transporting

goods, the robot works in the semi-autonomous mode. The
riders COG(Center of Gravity ) goes forward or backward,
after coming balance, velocity of the robot is plus or minus,
therefore, the robot runs forward or backward.
2) Motion changing between forward and backward

In this paper we presented a small mobile robotic platform

with a differentially driven two-coaxial-wheeled structure.
The design is light weight, compact in size, and low power
consumption unit. The simulation result is successfully
shown that controller has a good response to achieve the
desired characteristic. The robot can work in
semi-autonomous and the remotely controlled mode. The
effectiveness and wider use of the developed mobile robot is
confirmed by experiments such as transporting goods and
transporting human. Because the stability of the robot is
influenced by the force from the rider, the disturbance by
external forces will be considered, and add some functional
components to improve maneuverability in various
estimated standing poses, and a nonlinear controller will be
suggested as a future improvement to the current control
This project is partially supported by The High
Technology Research and Development Program (863
Program) from The Ministry of Science and Technology of
China. Author thanks them for financial support.

Fig. 14. Experimental results of transporting human: run forward then


Fig. 15. Experimental results of transporting human: run backward then


Fig. 14 and Fig.15 show the riders COG goes from

forward to backward or from backward to forward, the robot
runs forward or backward. The disturbance by external
forces from human can be seen.


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