Design and Tension Modeling of a Novel Cable-Driven Rigid Snake-Like Manipulator

  • Dawei Xu
  • En LiEmail author
  • Zize Liang
  • Zishu Gao


In this study, a cable-driven snake-like manipulator with high load capacity and end-positioning accuracy is designed for applications in complex and narrow environments. The Hooke joint-like two degree-of-freedom joint design and the full actuation mode enhanced the rigidity of the robot. The modular link design increased the local flexibility of the robot. Because the cable tension cannot be ignored under high load on the basis of the kinematics model, a cable tension model is established based on rigid body static equilibrium to describe the relationship between posture and cable tension. This provided a foundation for follow-up studies on obstacle avoidance path planning with optimized tension. At the same time, in order to improve the response speed of the motor position controller to the tension change, this study introduces both the tension as the reference model input and the system state variable into the adaptive control method based on model identification and reinforcement learning. The kinematics model and the cable tension model were validated by experiments on the prototype. The practical results of the two adaptive control methods were compared and the result shows that the method based on model identification has a better effect.


Snake-like manipulator Cable-driven Kinematics Tension model Neural network Reinforcement learning 

Mathematics Subject Classification (2010)



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This work was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (Grant No.: 2018YFB1307400), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No.: 61873267, U1713224). The authors also appreciate the comments and valuable suggestions of reviewers and editors to improve the quality of the paper.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The State Key Laboratory of Management and Control for Complex SystemsInstitute of Automation, Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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