Robotic manipulation of a moving platform utilizing force sensing and sonar ranging
Raphael, Roy A.
Ciezki, John G.
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Robotic manipulators are widely used in industry where the environment may be too hostile for workers. However, their application has been limited to an industrial setting where the robot is mounted on a stationary base. It is of great interest to expand the application of the robot manipulator to where it is mounted on an autonomous delivery vehicle. This application would enable the delivery vehicle not only to locate objects in a hostile environment, but also to perform tasks that would entirely remove the human being from the hostile environment. This thesis explores the feasibility of implementing a manipulator on an autonomous vehicle. A Zebra-ZERO Force Control Robot is mounted on a moving platform for feasibility simulations of an autonomous delivery vehicle. The Zebra-ZERO system consists primarily of a robotic arm with six degrees of freedom, a six-axis force sensor mounted at the end of the manipulator, and supporting computer hardware and software. In this thesis, the capability of the Zebra-ZERO system is expanded by integrating it with an external sonar ranging system. The sonar ranging system provides range feedback that is critical for positioning the manipulator while it is mounted on a moving platform. Test results demonstrate that the manipulator mounted on a moving platform is able to compensate for random platform motions and successfully perform various manipulation tasks.
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