Modelling and Experimental Investigation of Carangiform Locomotion for Control

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Scott D. Kelly, Richard J. Mason, Carl T. Anhalt, Richard M. Murray, Joel W. Burdick
1998 American Control Conference

We propose a model for planar carangiform swimming based on conservative equations for the interaction of a rigid body and an incompressible fluid. We account for the generation of thrust due to vortex shedding through controlled coupling terms. We investigate the correct form of this coupling experimentally with a robotic propulsor, comparing its observed behavior with that predicted by unsteady hydrodynamics. Our analysis of thrust generation by an oscillating hydrofoil allows us to characterize and evaluate certain families of gaits. Our final swimming model takes the form of a control-affine nonlinear system.