Time-optimal velocity tracking control for differential drive robots

Hasan A. Poonawala, Mark W. Spong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Nonholonomic wheeled mobile robots are often required to implement control algorithms designed for holonomic kinematic systems. This creates a velocity tracking problem for an actual wheeled mobile robot. In this paper, we investigate the issue of tracking a desired velocity in the least amount of time, for a differential drive nonholonomic wheeled mobile robot with torque inputs. The Pontryagin Maximum Principle provides time-optimal controls that must be implemented as open-loop commands to the motors. We propose two discontinuous state-based feedback control laws, such that the associated closed-loop systems track a desired velocity in minimum time. The feedback control laws are rigorously shown to produce only time-optimal trajectories, by constructing a regular synthesis for each control law. The availability of these time-optimal feedback control laws makes re-computation of open-loop time-optimal controls (due to changes in the desired velocity or input disturbances) unnecessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-157
Number of pages5
StatePublished - Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017


  • Differential drive robots
  • Regular synthesis
  • Time-optimal control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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