Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Automotive Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Venkat Krovi

Committee Member

Matthias Schmid

Committee Member

Ian Walker

Committee Member

Yunyi Jia


The motivation for this thesis was to develop a cable-driven parallel robot (CDPR) as part of a two-part robotic device for concrete 3D printing. This research addresses specific research questions in this domain, chiefly, to present advantages offered by the addition of kinematic redundancies to CDPRs. Due to the natural actuation redundancy present in a fully constrained CDPR, the addition of internal mobility offers complex challenges in modeling and control that are not often encountered in literature.

This work presents a systematic analysis of modeling such kinematic redundancies through the application of reciprocal screw theory (RST) and Lie algebra while further introducing specific challenges and drawbacks presented by cable driven actuators. It further re-contextualizes well-known performance indices such as manipulability, wrench closure quality, and the available wrench set for application with reconfigurable CDPRs.

The existence of both internal redundancy and static redundancy in the joint space offers a large subspace of valid solutions that can be condensed through the selection of appropriate objective priorities, constraints or cost functions. Traditional approaches to such redundancy resolution necessitate computationally expensive numerical optimization. The control of both kinematic and actuation redundancies requires cascaded control frameworks that cannot easily be applied towards real-time control.

The selected cost functions for numerical optimization of rCDPRs can be globally (and sometimes locally) non-convex. In this work we present two applied examples of redundancy resolution control that are unique to rCDPRs. In the first example, we maximize the directional wrench ability at the end-effector while minimizing the joint torque requirement by utilizing the fitness of the available wrench set as a constraint over wrench feasibility. The second example focuses on directional stiffness maximization at the end-effector through a variable stiffness module (VSM) that partially decouples the tension and stiffness. The VSM introduces an additional degrees of freedom to the system in order to manipulate both reconfigurability and cable stiffness independently.

The controllers in the above examples were designed with kinematic models, but most CDPRs are highly dynamic systems which can require challenging feedback control frameworks. An approach to real-time dynamic control was implemented in this thesis by incorporating a learning-based frameworks through deep reinforcement learning. Three approaches to rCDPR training were attempted utilizing model-free TD3 networks.

Robustness and safety are critical features for robot development. One of the main causes of robot failure in CDPRs is due to cable breakage. This not only causes dangerous dynamic oscillations in the workspace, but also leads to total robot failure if the controllability (due to lack of cables) is lost. Fortunately, rCDPRs can be utilized towards failure tolerant control for task recovery. The kinematically redundant joints can be utilized to help recover the lost degrees of freedom due to cable failure. This work applies a Multi-Model Adaptive Estimation (MMAE) framework to enable online and automatic objective reprioritization and actuator retasking. The likelihood of cable failure(s) from the estimator informs the mixing of the control inputs from a bank of feedforward controllers.

In traditional rigid body robots, safety procedures generally involve a standard emergency stop procedure such as actuator locking. Due to the flexibility of cable links, the dynamic oscillations of the end-effector due to cable failure must be actively dampened. This work incorporates a Linear Quadratic Regulator (LQR) based feedback stabilizer into the failure tolerant control framework that works to stabilize the non-linear system and dampen out these oscillations.

This research contributes to a growing, but hitherto niche body of work in reconfigurable cable driven parallel manipulators. Some outcomes of the multiple engineering design, control and estimation challenges addressed in this research warrant further exploration and study that are beyond the scope of this thesis. This thesis concludes with a thorough discussion of the advantages and limitations of the presented work and avenues for further research that may be of interest to continuing scholars in the community.

Author ORCID Identifier




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