A vehicle system driven by two independent DC motors is presented here, one of which is used for the right wheel and the other is used for the left wheel. An adaptive compensator using Takagi-Sugeno fuzzy systems is proposed to control the vehicle system. The compensator includes an adaptive model identifier and adaptive controller. An online method is used to adjust the parameters of the identifier model to match the behavior model of the vehicle system. Then, the parameters of the identifier model are employed in a standard parallel-distributed compensator to provide asymptotically stable equilibrium for the closed-loop vehicle drive system, in which the velocity and direction angle of the vehicle are controlled. Results demonstrate that the proposed controller structure is robust to load changes and follows different trajectories very well. (c) 2004 The Franklin Institute. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.