Contrôle en force sécuritaire d'une plateforme omnidirectionnelle non-holonome
Autre titre : Secured force guidance of an omnidirectional non-holonomic platform
Date de publication2011
For robots to operate in real life settings, they must be able to physically interact with the environment, and for instance be able to react to force-guidance interactions. However, only a few research projects have addressed such capabilities, developing prototypes that have to be pushed from their handle bars. AZIMUT-3 is a novel omnidirectional non-holonomic mobile robot developed at IntRoLab (Intelligent, Interactive and Interdisciplinary Robot Lab, Université de Sherbrooke) with force-controlled active steering. This results in a horizontal suspension effect for which the mechanical impedance of the steering actuators can be controlled. This makes the platform ideal for developing physical guidance algorithms. One such algorithm is secured shared-control, making the platform go in the direction of the user pushing the robot while still making it move safely by avoiding obstacles. Such capability is somewhat novel in the field, and the objective is to provide safe navigation with maximum control to the user. This Master's thesis has two important contributions: an algorithm to estimate the applied efforts on AZIMUT-3 from torque measurements on its wheels; an algorithm to use these efforts with obstacle detection using laser range finder data to implement a safe, shared-control approach. Experimental results using the real platform demonstrate feasibility and safe control of the system, with performances similar to using a six degrees of freedom force sensor but at lower cost and with a broader area for shared control. Our implementation also resulted in coupling the simulation environment Webots with the ROS (Robot Operating System) library from Willow Garage, to help develop our approach in simulation before using AZIMUT-3. Overall, our work is the first in demonstrating how it is possible to naturally interact by physically moving or positioning a mobile platform in real life settings, a capability which could be useful for instance in the design of powered shopping carts or active walkers.
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