Owing to the harsh environment of underground mines, autonomous underground articulated vehicles (UAVs) with precise control and positioning system are particularly important. However, the ambiguity of steering characteristics hinders the development of UAVs. This study presents a model-based method to uncover the steering characteristics of a UAV. Firstly, a hybrid model of UAV was established, which included a dynamic model of articulated frames and a model of the hydraulic power steering system. Secondly, a field test of a typical UAV, a load-haul-dump (LHD) with 4 m3
capacity, was carried out. In order to verify the correctness of the established model and the accuracy of the involved parameters, the field test results were used to verify the dynamic model in time and frequency domains. Then, the steering characteristics of the UAV were uncovered based on the verified hybrid model, and the results showed that the increased load would increase ‘oversteering’ under the same articulation angle and that the error of trajectory exceeded 0.3 m. In addition, the deviations of trajectories between the two frames were revealed during the transient steering process, and the maximum deviation reached 0.21 m when the velocity was 2 m/s and the articulation angle was 15°. The comprehensive results indicate that the steering characteristics of UAVs cannot be ignored in regard to precise autonomous control and positioning.
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