Motion paths of cable-driven hexapods must carefully be planned to ensure that the lengths and tensions of all cables remain within acceptable limits, for a given wrench applied to the platform. The cables cannot go slack-to keep the control of the robot-nor excessively tightto prevent cable breakage-even in the presence of bounded perturbations of the wrench. This paper proposes a path-planning method that accommodates such constraints simultaneously. Given two configurations of the robot, the method attempts to connect them through a path that, at any point, allows the cables to counteract any wrench lying in a predefined uncertainty region. The configuration space, or C-space for short, is placed in correspondence with a smooth manifold, which facilitates the definition of a continuation strategy to search this space systematically from one configuration, until the second configuration is found, or path nonexistence is proved by exhaustion of the search. The force Jacobian is full rank everywhere on the C-space, which implies that the computed paths will naturally avoid crossing the forward singularity locus of the robot. The adjustment of tension limits, moreover, allows to maintain a meaningful clearance relative to such locus. The approach is applicable to compute paths subject to geometric constraints on the platform pose or to synthesize free-flying motions in the full 6-D C-space. Experiments illustrate the performance of the method in a real prototype.Postprint (author's final draft
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