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Mechatronic design and locomotion control of a robotic thunniform swimmer for fast cruising.

ABSTRACT

This paper presents mechatronic design and locomotion control of a biomimetic robotic fish that swims using thunniform kinematics for fast cruising. Propulsion of the robotic fish is realized with a parallel four-bar propulsive mechanism that delivers combined translational and rotational motion to a lunate caudal fin. A central pattern generator controller, composed of two unidirectionally coupled Hopf oscillators, is employed to generate robust, smooth and coordinated oscillatory control signals for the tail joints. In order to maintain correct phase relation between joints during fast tail beating, a novel phase adjusting mechanism is proposed and incorporated into the controller. The attitude of the robotic fish in fast swimming is stabilized using an attitude and heading reference system unit and a pair of pitching pectoral fins. The maximum speed of the robotic fish can reach 2.0 m s(-1), which is the fastest speed that robotic fishes have achieved. Its outstanding swimming performance presents possibilities for deployment to real-world exploration, probe and survey missions.