Optimal Control of the Wheelchair Wheelie

Erivelton G. dos Santos, Fabrizio Leonardi, and Marko Ackermann


wheelie, wheelchair, optimal control


The wheelchair wheelie is a maneuver employed to overcome obstacles and descend ramps, for instance. The task is similar to the stabilization problem of an inverted pendulum that is extensively described in the control theory literature. However, in this case, the goal is to maintain the user and the wheelchair in equilibrium on wheels, which is achieved when the center of mass of the system is aligned with the rear axle in the vertical direction. This work investigates a controller to perform the wheelie in power-assisted wheelchairs using optimal control theory and a model of the user and wheelchair system. The proposed approach leads to a controller capable of rising the wheelchair, which is able to reject perturbations and which is robust to typical parameter uncertainties.

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