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Coordinated Control and Range Imaging for Mobile Manipulation

By Dean Anderson, Thomas M. Howard, David Apfelbaum, Herman Herman and Alonzo Kelly


Summary. Robots with manipulator arms, or mobile manipulators, are useful in a variety of applications, such as Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) or Urban Search and Rescue (USAR). However, the systems currently being fielded are relatively primitive. This work demonstrates an improved mobile manipulator system which includes several technologies for more intelligent teleoperation. “Click and Grab ” is an interface which allows an operator to click on a color image to designate a target, and the system is then able to recover the location in 3D space, navigate to within manipulation range, and then grasp the target. We employ a new flash LADAR sensor to provide depth information, and a sophisticated motion planner which is able to sample the terminal state of the vehicle in order to optimize performance metrics such as path length, cost, or target manipuability. Additional improvements include controlling the end-effector in workspace coordinates and automatic extension of the manipulator workspace via coordinated motion of the base. Experimental results from an informal user study are presented, as well as evaluation of system performance in path planning and tracking are presented.

Year: 2011
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