Mixed Autonomous/Teleoperation Control of Asymmetric Robotic Systems

Mixed Autonomous/Teleoperation Control of Asymmetric Robotic Systems

Pawel Malysz (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) and Shahin Sirouspour (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/ijrat.2014010103
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This paper presents a unified framework for system design and control in human-in-the-loop asymmetric robotic systems. It introduces a highly general teleoperation system configuration involving any number of operators, haptic interfaces, and robots with possibly different degrees of mobility. The proposed framework allows for mixed teleoperation/autonomous control of user-defined subtasks by establishing position/force tracking as well as kinematic constraints among relevant teleoperation control frames. The control strategy is hierarchical comprising of a high-level teleoperation coordinating controller and low-level joint velocity controllers. The approach utilizes idempotent, generalized pseudoinverse and weighting matrices in order to achieve new performance objectives that are defined for such asymmetric semi-autonomous teleoperation systems. Three layers of velocity-based autonomous control at different priority levels with respect to human teleoperation are integrated into the framework. A detailed analysis of system performance and stability is presented. Experimental results with a single-master/dual-slave system configuration demonstrate an application of the proposed system design and control strategy.
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Applications of teleoperation have grown along with the advances in computing, networking and robotic technologies. The increased capability and complexity of modern telerobotic systems have benefited the traditional areas of space robotics, nuclear/hazardous material handling, mining, deep-water exploration, as well as more recent applications in medical robotics, micro/macro assembly, maintenance/inspection, and search and rescue. The reader is referred to survey papers (Chen, Haas, & Barnes, 2007; Hokayem & Spong, 2006) and the Advances in Telerobotics textbook (Ferre, Buss, Aracil, Melchiorri, & (Eds.), 2007) for an overview of the applications and research conducted on teleoperation.

In all of the above applications, the role of the operator(s) typically falls under the following scenarios: 1) Complete human teleoperation, 2) Supervision of an autonomous task, 3) Shared or semi-autonomous teleoperation. The ability to accommodate and smoothly transition among these modalities would be indispensable in real-world systems. To be able to operate in complex task environments, teleoperation control architectures have evolved from conventional symmetric single-master/single-slave systems to more advanced multi-operator/multi-robot systems integrated with semi-autonomous control. While many examples of such systems are in the literature, a general framework for their control is still lacking. The current paper fills this gap by proposing a unified strategy for coordination and control of such telerobotic systems, which will be referred to as Asymmetric Semi-autonomous Teleoperation (AST) systems hereinafter.

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