Digital Control of Hybrid Power for Unmanned Ground Vehicles

Open Access
Meehan, Andrew John
Graduate Program:
Electrical Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
April 02, 2013
Committee Members:
  • Jeffery Mayer, Thesis Advisor
  • Karl Martin Reichard, Thesis Advisor
  • Digital Control
  • Hybrid
  • Power
  • Robot
  • HyPER
The performance of almost any vehicle is limited by the capabilities of the vehicle’s energy source. Of particular concern is the total energy that can be stored by the source, as it limits the range of the vehicle, and the maximum power that can be delivered by the source, as it limits the rate at which the vehicle can move. In most of today’s unmanned ground vehicles or mobile robots, a single battery pack is used to supply the low power sensor/control systems and the high power traction system. The use of a single battery pack has the merit of simplicity but forces a tradeoff between vehicle range and rate capabilities. Current research efforts to improve energy management for these vehicles have focused on sharing power demands among sources having different energy and power capabilities. The Hybrid Power and Energy for Robots (HyPER) architecture was developed for this purpose. Most power systems are specific to the application and cannot readily accommodate the addition of new sources. In this project, an improved architecture for hybrid power systems containing heterogeneous energy sources has been developed from the HyPER architecture. This architecture is applicable in a large range of systems and can accommodate the addition of new energy sources automatically. An important feature of this architecture is that it ensures the stability of the system through a combination of feedback linearization and self-configuration. The effectiveness of the architecture has been demonstrated through a [small-scale] prototype system.