Haptic-enabled teleoperation of hydraulic manipulators: theory and application
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Hydraulic manipulators commonly interact with environments that are highly unstructured, and thus rely on the intelligence of human operators to provide proper commands. Typically, operators use visual information, directly or through cameras, to perform a task. Providing haptic or touch sensation about the task environment to the operator, enhances her/his ability to perform telemanipulation. The focus of this thesis is on haptic teleoperation of hydraulic manipulators. The application is directed at live transmission line maintenance tasks. In this thesis, both unilateral and bilateral haptic teleoperation of hydraulic manipulators are investigated. On the unilateral telemanipulation front, position error is shown to be an important issue in performing repetitive tasks. The most important sources of inaccuracy in position are sensors, robot controller performance, and the operator. To reduce the human operator’s errors, the concept of virtual fixtures is adopted in this research. It is shown that virtual fixtures can help operators perform routine tasks related to live line maintenance. Stability and telepresence are the main issues in reference to bilateral control. Three stable bilateral control schemes are designed for haptic teleoperation of hydraulic actuators considering nonlinear dynamics of hydraulic actuation, haptic device, and the operator. For each control scheme, stability of the entire control system is proven theoretically by constructing a proper Lyapunov function. Due to the discontinuity originating from a sign function in the control laws, the proposed control systems are non-smooth. Thus, the existence, continuation, and uniqueness of Filippov’s solution to the system are first proven for each control system. Next, the extensions of Lyapunov’s stability theory to non-smooth systems and LaSalle’s invariant set theorems are employed to prove the asymptotic stability of the control systems. In terms of telepresence, two types of haptic sensation are provided to the operator: (i) haptic based on the reflected interaction force, and (ii) haptic based on the position error. Performances of all proposed controllers are validated by experimental results on a hydraulic actuator controlled by a haptic device. It is shown that besides stability, the hydraulic actuator performs well in terms of position tracking while the haptic device provides telepresence for the operator.