Bilateral Control of Base-Excited Hydraulic Manipulators Operating under a Delayed and Lossy Network

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Maddahi, Yaser
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Teleoperation of hydraulic manipulators is of potential when the presence of the operator, in a remote location, is inconvenient or dangerous. Augmenting such teleoperated systems using haptic sensation will further enhance performance, safety, and convenience. The advantage of using haptic force becomes more evident when it is employed to compensate for undesirable phenomena such as existence of a delayed and lossy communication channel or excitation of the manipulator base. The focus of this thesis is on haptic-enabled control of base-excited hydraulic manipulators that are controlled through a wireless communication channel. The targeted application is live transmission line maintenance. Both unilateral and bilateral controls of teleoperated hydraulic manipulators are studied. On the unilateral front, position error is shown to be an important issue, especially when the position accuracy of the slave manipulator is violated due to fast motion of the operator’s hand at the master site, lack of responsiveness in actuation system, or poor quality of communication channel. With respect to bilateral control, three main challenges are identified, and solutions to these challenges are investigated: (i) accurate control of the slave manipulator when the communication channel is delayed and/or lossy, (ii) control of the teleoperated system when the slave manipulator is mounted atop a moving platform, and (iii) transparent force feedback to improve the position tracking of the system. First, effects of network quality and slave manipulator base excitation are examined on performance of the teleoperated system. The position error between the haptic device implement and the hydraulic manipulator end-effector is shown to increase when the network is delayed and lossy. Next, excitation of the slave manipulator base deviates the end-effector from its reference trajectory, and the position error therefore becomes larger. To alleviate the position inaccuracy, a position referenced force feedback scheme is proposed. The scheme makes the input dynamics a better match with the slave dynamics. Combined with the virtual fixture force, the virtual fixture is shown to aid the operator in following a predefined virtual fixture trajectory. Due to complexity of dynamics, performance evaluations are mostly conducted using experimental validations on actual system in a laboratory setting.
Teleoperation, Haptics, Hydraulic manipulator, Wireless communication channel, Base-excitation, Force feedback control system