Analysis and Synthesis of Snake Robot Locomotion

  • Pål Liljebäck
  • Kristin Y. Pettersen
  • Øyvind Stavdahl
  • Jan Tommy Gravdahl
Part of the Advances in Industrial Control book series (AIC)


Research on snake robots has been conducted for several decades. However, our understanding of snake locomotion so far is for the most part based on empirical studies of biological snakes and simulation-based synthesis of relationships between parameters of the snake robot. Armed with the mathematical model of the snake robot presented earlier in this book, we attempt in this chapter to contribute to the understanding of snake robots by employing nonlinear system analysis tools for investigating fundamental properties of their dynamics. We will also derive several interesting properties of snake robot locomotion simply by investigating the equations of motion of the robot, some of which will be instrumental in the development of a simplified model later in this book.

In this chapter, we also investigate the motion pattern which is most common among biological snakes, namely lateral undulation. This motion pattern is considered in the majority of the snake robot literature, and will also receive much attention throughout this book. The serpenoid curve is a well-known mathematical description of the shape of a snake during lateral undulation, and was proposed in an early work of the snake robot literature based on empirical studies of biological snakes. In this chapter, we develop analytical results that support this mathematical description.


Joint Angle Propulsive Force Snake Robot Lateral Undulation Ground Friction 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pål Liljebäck
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kristin Y. Pettersen
    • 2
  • Øyvind Stavdahl
    • 2
  • Jan Tommy Gravdahl
    • 2
  1. 1.Applied CyberneticsSINTEF ICTTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Department of Engineering CyberneticsNorwegian University of Science & TechnologyTrondheimNorway

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