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Distributing Planning and Control for Teams of Cooperating Mobile Robots

Description: This CRADA project involved the cooperative research of investigators in ORNL's Center for Engineering Science Advanced Research (CESAR) with researchers at Caterpillar, Inc. The subject of the research was the development of cooperative control strategies for autonomous vehicles performing applications of interest to Caterpillar customers. The project involved three Phases of research, conducted over the time period of November 1998 through December 2001. This project led to the successful development of several technologies and demonstrations in realistic simulation that illustrated the effectiveness of our control approaches for distributed planning and cooperation in multi-robot teams. The primary objectives of this research project were to: (1) Develop autonomous control technologies to enable multiple vehicles to work together cooperatively, (2) Provide the foundational capabilities for a human operator to exercise oversight and guidance during the multi-vehicle task execution, and (3) Integrate these capabilities to the ALLIANCE-based autonomous control approach for multi-robot teams. These objectives have been successfully met with the results implemented and demonstrated in a near real-time multi-vehicle simulation of up to four vehicles performing mission-relevant tasks.
Date: July 19, 2004
Creator: Parker, L. E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Advanced robot locomotion.

Description: This report contains the results of a research effort on advanced robot locomotion. The majority of this work focuses on walking robots. Walking robot applications include delivery of special payloads to unique locations that require human locomotion to exo-skeleton human assistance applications. A walking robot could step over obstacles and move through narrow openings that a wheeled or tracked vehicle could not overcome. It could pick up and manipulate objects in ways that a standard robot gripper could not. Most importantly, a walking robot would be able to rapidly perform these tasks through an intuitive user interface that mimics natural human motion. The largest obstacle arises in emulating stability and balance control naturally present in humans but needed for bipedal locomotion in a robot. A tracked robot is bulky and limited, but a wide wheel base assures passive stability. Human bipedal motion is so common that it is taken for granted, but bipedal motion requires active balance and stability control for which the analysis is non-trivial. This report contains an extensive literature study on the state-of-the-art of legged robotics, and it additionally provides the analysis, simulation, and hardware verification of two variants of a proto-type leg design.
Date: January 1, 2007
Creator: Neely, Jason C.; Sturgis, Beverly Rainwater; Byrne, Raymond Harry; Feddema, John Todd; Spletzer, Barry Louis; Rose, Scott E. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Prospecting for lunar ice using a multi-rover cooperative team

Description: A multi-rover cooperative team or swarm developed by Sandia National Laboratories is described, including various control methodologies that have been implemented to date. How the swarm's capabilities could be applied to a lunar ice prospecting mission is briefly explored. Some of the specific major engineering issues that must be addressed to successfully implement the swarm approach to a lunar surface mission are outlined, and potential solutions are proposed.
Date: February 11, 2000
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Development of Monitoring and Diagnostic Methods for Robots Used In Remediation of Waste Sites - Final Report

Description: This project is the first evaluation of model-based diagnostics to hydraulic robot systems. A greater understanding of fault detection for hydraulic robots has been gained, and a new theoretical fault detection model developed and evaluated.
Date: April 1, 2000
Creator: Martin, M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Parallel Assembly of LIGA Components

Description: In this paper, a prototype robotic workcell for the parallel assembly of LIGA components is described. A Cartesian robot is used to press 386 and 485 micron diameter pins into a LIGA substrate and then place a 3-inch diameter wafer with LIGA gears onto the pins. Upward and downward looking microscopes are used to locate holes in the LIGA substrate, pins to be pressed in the holes, and gears to be placed on the pins. This vision system can locate parts within 3 microns, while the Cartesian manipulator can place the parts within 0.4 microns.
Date: March 4, 1999
Creator: Christenson, T.R. & Feddema, J.T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Perceptual basis for reactive teleoperation.

Description: To enhance task performance in partially structured environment, enhancement of teleoperation was proposed by introducing autonomous behaviors. Such autonomy is implemented based on reactive robotic architecture, where reactive motor agents that directly couples sensory inputs and motor actions become the building blocks. To this end, presented in this paper is a perceptual basis for the motor agents. The perceptual basis consists of perceptual agents that extracts environmental information from a structured light vision system and provide action oriented perception for the corresponding motor agents. Rather than performing general scene reconstruction, a perceptual agent directly provides the motion reference for the motor behavior. Various sensory mechanisms--sensor fission, fusion, and fashion--becomes basic building blocks of the perception process. Since perception is a process deeply intertwined with the motor actions, active perception may also incorporate motor behaviors as an integral perceptual process.
Date: August 28, 2001
Creator: Park, Y. S.; Ewing, T. F.; Boyle, J. M. & Yule, T. J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Passive legged, multi-segmented, robotic vehicle.

Description: The Passive-legged, Multi-segmented, Robotic Vehicle concept is a simple legged vehicle that is modular and scaleable, and can be sized to fit through confined areas that are slightly larger than the size of the vehicle. A specific goal of this project was to be able to fit through the opening in the fabric of a chain link fence. This terrain agile robotic platform will be composed of multiple segments that are each equipped with appendages (legs) that resemble oars extending from a boat. Motion is achieved by pushing with these legs that can also flex to fold next to the body when passing through a constricted area. Each segment is attached to another segment using an actuated joint. This joint represents the only actuation required for mobility. The major feature of this type of mobility is that the terrain agility advantage of legs can be attained without the complexity of the multiple-actuation normally required for the many joints of an active leg. The minimum number of segments is two, but some concepts require three or more segments. This report discusses several concepts for achieving this type of mobility, their design, and the results obtained for each.
Date: November 1, 2003
Creator: Hayward, David R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Distributed Planning and Control for Teams of Cooperating Mobile Robots

Description: This CRADA project involved the cooperative research of investigators in ORNL's Center for Engineering Science Advanced Research (CESAR) with researchers at Caterpillar, Inc. The subject of the research was the development of cooperative control strategies for autonomous vehicles performing applications of interest to Caterpillar customers. The project involved three Phases of research, conducted over the time period of November 1998 through December 2001. This project led to the successful development of several technologies and demonstrations in realistic simulation that illustrated the effectiveness of the control approaches for distributed planning and cooperation in multi-robot teams.
Date: June 15, 2004
Creator: Parker, L.E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Design and Implementation of Communication Platform for Autonomous Decentralized Systems

Description: This thesis deals with the decentralized autonomous system, in which individual nodes acting like peers, communicate and participate in collaborative tasks and decision making processes. An experimental test-bed is created using four Garcia robots. The robots act like peers and interact with each other using user datagram protocol (UDP) messages. Each robot continuously monitors for messages coming from other robots and respond accordingly. Each robot broadcasts its location to all the other robots within its vicinity. Robots do not have built-in global positioning system (GPS). So, an indoor localization method based on signal strength is developed to estimate robot's position. The signal strength that the robot gets from the nearby wireless access points is used to calculate the robot's position. Trilateration and fingerprint are some of the indoor localization methods used for this purpose. The communication functionality of the decentralized system has been tested and verified in the autonomous systems laboratory.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Gottipati, Naga Sravani
Partner: UNT Libraries

Cooperative sentry vehicles and differential GPS leapfrog

Description: As part of a project for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Sandia National Laboratories Intelligent Systems and Robotics Center is developing and testing the feasibility of using a cooperative team of robotic sentry vehicles to guard a perimeter, perform a surround task, and travel extended distances. This paper describes the authors most recent activities. In particular, this paper highlights the development of a Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) leapfrog capability that allows two or more vehicles to alternate sending DGPS corrections. Using this leapfrog technique, this paper shows that a group of autonomous vehicles can travel 22.68 kilometers with a root mean square positioning error of only 5 meters.
Date: June 7, 2000
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Pioneer Robot Testing Program and Status

Description: The U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) and Ukraine established a joint program in 1997 to address the need for remotely operated systems for unstructured environments in Ukraine such as the highly hazardous conditions inside the failed Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (ChNPP) Unit 4, or Shelter Object. The environment inside Shelter Object is extremely hazardous due to ionizing radiation fields, high airborne contamination, and major industrial safety issues. Although Ukrainian workers have explored and mapped much of the internals of Unit 4 in the time since the accident during the morning hours of April 26, 1986, there remain areas where humans have not entered to this date. Based on the agreement between USDOE and Ukraine, the USDOE, in cooperation with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), developed the Pioneer Robot and has provided it to the ChNPP within the framework of international technical assistance. Pioneer is capable of mobile platform movement and manipulation under teleoperated control, 3-dimensional mapping, and environmental data collection. The Pioneer is radiation hardened for conditions like those of Shelter Object. Pioneer has been evaluated on site in Ukraine for use in both the Shelter Object environment and the more general conditions of ChNPP decommissioning. This paper summarizes the results of these testing activities and describes the status and near-term activities in support of the Pioneer Robot integration into Ukraine.
Date: February 2, 2001
Creator: Herndon, J.N.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

I want what you've got: Cross platform portabiity and human-robot interaction assessment.

Description: Human-robot interaction is a subtle, yet critical aspect of design that must be assessed during the development of both the human-robot interface and robot behaviors if the human-robot team is to effectively meet the complexities of the task environment. Testing not only ensures that the system can successfully achieve the tasks for which it was designed, but more importantly, usability testing allows the designers to understand how humans and robots can, will, and should work together to optimize workload distribution. A lack of human-centered robot interface design, the rigidity of sensor configuration, and the platform-specific nature of research robot development environments are a few factors preventing robotic solutions from reaching functional utility in real word environments. Often the difficult engineering challenge of implementing adroit reactive behavior, reliable communication, trustworthy autonomy that combines with system transparency and usable interfaces is overlooked in favor of other research aims. The result is that many robotic systems never reach a level of functional utility necessary even to evaluate the efficacy of the basic system, much less result in a system that can be used in a critical, real-world environment. Further, because control architectures and interfaces are often platform specific, it is difficult or even impossible to make usability comparisons between them. This paper discusses the challenges inherent to the conduct of human factors testing of variable autonomy control architectures and across platforms within a complex, real-world environment. It discusses the need to compare behaviors, architectures, and interfaces within a structured environment that contains challenging real-world tasks, and the implications for system acceptance and trust of autonomous robotic systems for how humans and robots interact in true interactive teams.
Date: August 1, 2005
Creator: Julie L. Marble, Ph.D.*.; Few, Douglas A. & Bruemmer, David J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

An immunological basis for high-reliability systems control.

Description: This reports describes the successful extension of artificial immune systems from the domain of computer security to the domain of real time control systems for robotic vehicles. A biologically-inspired computer immune system was added to the control system of two different mobile robots. As an additional layer in a multi-layered approach, the immune system is complementary to traditional error detection and error handling techniques. This can be thought of as biologically-inspired defense in depth. We demonstrated an immune system can be added with very little application developer effort, resulting in little to no performance impact. The methods described here are extensible to any system that processes a sequence of data through a software interface.
Date: March 1, 2005
Creator: Somayaji, Anil B. (Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada); Amai, Wendy A. & Walther, Eleanor A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Uncertainty Propagation in Calibration of Parallel Kinematic Machines

Description: Over the last decade, multi-axis machine tools and robots based on parallel kinematic mechanisms (PKMs) have been developed and marketed worldwide. Positional accuracy in these machines is controlled by accurate knowledge of the kinematic parameters which consists of the joint center locations and distances between joint pairs. Since these machines tend to be rather large in size, the kinematic parameters (joint center locations, and initial strut lengths) are difficult to determine when these machines are in their fully assembled state. Work recently completed by the University of Florida and Sandia National Laboratories has yielded a method for determining all of the kinematic parameters of an assembled parallel kinematic device. This paper contains a brief synopsis of the calibration method created, an error budget, an uncertainty analysis for the recovered kinematic parameters and the propagation of these uncertainties to the tool tip.
Date: November 2, 1999
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Issues associated with manipulator-based waste retrieval from Hanford underground storage tanks with a preliminary review of commercial concepts

Description: Westinghouse Hanford Company (WHC) is exploring commercial methods for retrieving waste from the underground storage tanks at the Hanford site in south central Washington state. WHC needs data on commercial retrieval systems equipment in order to make programmatic decisions for waste retrieval. Full system testing of retrieval processes is to be demonstrated in phases through September 1997 in support of programs aimed to Acquire Commercial Technology for Retrieval (ACTR) and at the Hanford Tanks Initiative (HTI). One of the important parts of the integrated testing will be the deployment of retrieval tools using manipulator-based systems. WHC requires an assessment of a number of commercial deployment systems that have been identified by the ACTR program as good candidates to be included in an integrated testing effort. Included in this assessment should be an independent evaluation of manipulator tests performed to date, so that WHC can construct an integrated test based on these systems. The objectives of this document are to provide a description of the need, requirements, and constraints for a manipulator-based retrieval system; to evaluate manipulator-based concepts and testing performed to date by a number of commercial organizations; and to identify issues to be resolved through testing and/or analysis for each concept.
Date: September 17, 1996
Creator: Berglin, E.J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Programming Robots with Associative Memories

Description: Today, there are several drawbacks that impede the necessary and much needed use of robot learning techniques in real applications. First, the time needed to achieve the synthesis of any behavior is prohibitive. Second, the robot behavior during the learning phase is � by definition � bad, it may even be dangerous. Third, except within the lazy learning approach, a new behavior implies a new learning phase. We propose in this paper to use self-organizing maps to encode the non explicit model of the robot-world interaction sampled by the lazy memory, and then generate a robot behavior by means of situations to be achieved, i.e., points on the self-organizing maps. Any behavior can instantaneously be synthesized by the definition of a goal situation. Its performance will be minimal (not evidently bad) and will improve by the mere repetition of the behavior.
Date: July 10, 1999
Creator: Touzet, C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Wheel rolling constraints and slip in mobile robots

Description: It is widely accepted that dead reckoning based on the rolling with no slip condition on wheels is not a reliable method to ascertain the position and orientation of a mobile robot for any reasonable distance. We establish that wheel slip is inevitable under the dynamic model of motion using classical results on the accessibility and controllability in nonlinear control theory and an analytical model of rolling of two linearly elastic bodies.
Date: March 1, 1997
Creator: Shekhar, S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Robots Working with Hazardous Materials

Description: While many research and development activities take place at Sandia National Laboratories' Intelligent Systems and Robotics Center (ISRC), where the "rubber meets the road" is in the ISRC'S delivered systems. The ISRC has delivered several systems over the last few years that handle hazardous materials on a daily basis, and allow human workers to move to a safer, supervisory role than the "hands-on" operations that they used to perform. The ISRC at Sandia performs a large range of research and development activities, including development and delivery of one-of-a-kind robotic systems for use with hazardous materials. Our mission is to create systems for operations where people can't or don't want to perform the operations by hand, and the systems described in this article are several of our first-of-a-kind deliveries to achieve that mission.
Date: January 6, 1999
Creator: Amai, W. & Fahrenholtz, J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

A Robotic Pinch-Off System for the Sealing of Neutron Tube Assemblies

Description: The process of manufacturing the MC4277 Neutron Tube requires the evacuation of the device through a 4.76 mm (.1875 in.) OD copper tube. Eight tubes are simultaneously evacuated and then baked out. When the process is completed, the tubes must be separated from the system without compromising the ultra-high vacuum in the tube and the system. Previously, a manual pinch-off tool was used. This procedure required up to 3 operators with a high probability of creating defective seals or destroyed tubes. Two new identical robotic systems were built to allow a single operator to consistently produce good tubes with perfect seals. These systems have the added capability of partially pinching off tubes at jaw displacements repeatable to *0.05 mm (kO.002 in.). Both systems have operated flawlessly since their installation in January and March, 1998. A detailed description of these systems is given in this report.
Date: January 1, 1999
Creator: Ney, R.J. & Schmale, D.T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department