High performance robot control algorithms often rely on system physical models. For field robots, the dynamic parameters of these physical models may not be well known. This paper presents a new information based performance metric for the on-line dynamic parameter identification of a multi-body system. The metric is used in an algorithm to optimally regulate the external excitation required by the dynamic system identification proceeding. This algorithm is applied to identify the vehicle and suspension parameters of a mobile field manipulator. Issues addressed include the development of appropriate vehicle models (compatible with the onboard sensors), Kalman observer estimation of optimal parameter values, mutual information based observability (or identification) metric, and formulation of the manipulator exciting trajectory. Simulations and experimental results show the effectiveness of this algorithm.

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