A practical distributed planning and control system for industrial robots is presented. The hierarchical concept consists of three independent levels. Each level is modularly implemented and supplies an application interface (API) to the next higher level. At the top level, we propose an automatic motion planner. The motion planner is based on a best-first search algorithm and needs no essential off-line computations. At the middle level, we propose a PC-based robot control architecture, which can easily be adapted to any industrial kinematics and application. Based on a client/server-principle, the control unit estab-lishes an open user interface for including application specific programs. At the bottom level, we propose a flexible and modular concept for the integration of the distributed motion control units based on the CAN bus. The concept allows an on-line adaptation of the control parameters according to the robot's configuration. This implies high accuracy for the path execution and improves the overall system performance.
This paper discusses the problem of automatic off-line programming and motion planning for industrial robots. At first, a new concept consisting of three steps is proposed. The first step, a new method for on-line motion planning is introduced. The motion planning method is based on the A*-search algorithm and works in the implicit configuration space. During searching, the collisions are detected in the explicitly represented Cartesian workspace by hierarchical distance computation. In the second step, the trajectory planner has to transform the path into a time and energy optimal robot program. The practical application of these two steps strongly depends on the method for robot calibration with high accuracy, thus, mapping the virtual world onto the real world, which is discussed in the third step.
For the online collision detection with a multi-arm robot a fast method for computing the so-called collision vector is presented. Manipulators and obstacles are modelled by sets of convex polytopes. Known distance algorithms serve as a foundation. To speed up the collision detection dynamic obstacles are approximated by geometric primitives and organized in hierarchies. On-line, the here introduced Dynamic Hierarchies are adjusted to the current arm configuration. A comparison with previous methods shows an increased acceleration of the computations.
One of the many features needed to support the activities of autonomous systems is the ability of motion planning. It enables robots to move in their environment securely and to accomplish given tasks. Unfortunately, the control loop comprising sensing, planning, and acting has not yet been closed for robots in dynamic environments. One reason involves the long execution times of the motion planning component. A solution for this problem is offered by the use of highly computational parallelism. Thus, an important task is the parallelization of existing motion planning algorithms for robots so that they are suitable for highly computational parallelism. In several cases, completely new algorithms have to be designed, so that a parallelization is feasible. In this survey, we review recent approaches to motion planning using parallel computation. As a classification scheme, we use the structure given by the different approaches to the robot's motion planning. For each approach, the available parallel processing methods are discussed. Each approach is uniquely assigned a class. Finally, for each referenced research work, a list of keywords is given.
This paper presents a new approach to parallel motion planning for industrial robot arms with six degrees of freedom in an on-line given 3D environment. The method is based on the A-search algorithm and needs no essential off-line computations. The algorithm works in an implicitly descrete configuration space. Collisions are detected in the Cartesian workspace by hierarchical distance computation based on the given CAD model. By decomposing the 6D configuration space into hypercubes and cyclically mapping them onto multiple processing units, a good load distribution can be achieved. We have implemented the parallel motion planner on a workstation cluster with 9 PCs and tested the planner for several benchmark environments. With optimal discretisation, the new approach usually shows linear speedups. In on-line provided environments with static obstacles, the parallel planning times are only a few seconds.
We present a parallel path planning method that is able to automatically handle multiple goal configurations as input. There are two basic approaches, goal switching and bi-directional search, which are combined in the end. Goal switching dynamically selects a fa-vourite goal depending on some distance function. The bi-directional search supports the backward search direction from the goal to the start configuration, which is probably faster. The multi-directional search with goal switching combines the advantages of goal switching and bi-directional search. Altogether, the planning system is enabled to select one of the pref-erable goal configuration by itself. All concepts are experimentally validated for a set of benchmark problems consisting of an industrial robot arm with six degrees of freedom in a 3D environment.
A new problem for the automated off-line programming of industrial robot application is investigated. The Multi-Goal Path Planning is to find the collision-free path connecting a set of goal poses and minimizing e.g. the total path length. Our solution is based on an earlier reported path planner for industrial robot arms with 6 degrees-of-freedom in an on-line given 3D environment. To control the path planner, four different goal selection methods are introduced and compared. While the Random and the Nearest Pair Selection methods can be used with any path planner, the Nearest Goal and the Adaptive Pair Selection method are favorable for our planner. With the latter two goal selection methods, the Multi-Goal Path Planning task can be significantly accelerated, because they are able to automatically solve the simplest path planning problems first. Summarizing, compared to Random or Nearest Pair Selection, this new Multi-Goal Path Planning approach results in a further cost reduction of the programming phase.
Enhancing the quality of surgical interventions is one of the main goals of surgical robotics. Thus we have devised a surgical robotic system for maxillofacial surgery which can be used as an intelligent intraoperative surgical tool. Up to now a surgeon preoperatively plans an intervention by studying twodimensional X-rays, thus neglecting the third dimension. In course of the special research programme "Computer and Sensor Aided Surgery" a planning system has been developed at our institute, which allows the surgeon to plan an operation on a threedimensional computer model of the patient . Transposing the preoperatively planned bone cuts, bore holes, cavities, and milled surfaces during surgery still proves to be a problem, as no adequate means are at hand: the actual performance of the surgical intervention and the surgical outcome solely depend on the experience and the skill of the operating surgeon. In this paper we present our approach of a surgical robotic system to be used in maxillofacial surgery. Special stress is being laid upon the modelling of the environment in the operating theatre and the motion planning of our surgical robot .
This paper is based on a path planning approach we reported earlier for industrial robot arms with 6 degrees of freedom in an on-line given 3D environment. It has on-line capabilities by searching in an implicit and descrete configuration space and detecting collisions in the Cartesian workspace by distance computation based on the given CAD model. Here, we present different methods for specifying the C-space discretization. Besides the usual uniform and heuristic discretization, we investigate two versions of an optimal discretization for an user-predefined Cartesian resolution. The different methods are experimentally evaluated. Additionally, we provide a set of 3- dimensional benchmark problems for a fair comparison of path planner. For each benchmark, the run-times of our planner are between only 3 and 100 seconds on a Pentium PC with 133 MHz.
This paper presents a new approach to parallel motion planning for industrial robot arms with six degrees of freedom in an on-line given 3D environment. The method is based on the A*-search algorithm and needs no essential off-line computations. The algorithm works in an implicitly descrete configuration space. Collisions are detected in the cartesian workspace by hierarchical distance computation based on the given CAD model. By decomposing the 6D configuration space into hypercubes and cyclically mapping them onto multiple processing units, a good load distribution can be achieved. We have implemented the parallel motion planner on a workstation cluster with 9 PCs and tested the planner for several benchmark environments. With optimal discretisation, the new approach usually shows linear, and sometimes even superlinear speedups. In on-line provided environments with static obstacles, the parallel planning times are only a few seconds.