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Bilateral Teleoperation of Groups of Mobile Robots With Time-Varying Topology

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5 Author(s)
Antonio Franchi ; Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, 72076 Tübingen, Germany ; Cristian Secchi ; Hyoung Il Son ; Heinrich H. Bulthoff
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In this paper, a novel decentralized control strategy for bilaterally teleoperating heterogeneous groups of mobile robots from different domains (aerial, ground, marine, and underwater) is proposed. By using a decentralized control architecture, the group of robots, which is treated as the slave side, is made able to navigate in a cluttered environment while avoiding obstacles, interrobot collisions, and following the human motion commands. Simultaneously, the human operator acting on the master side is provided with a suitable force feedback informative of the group response and of the interaction with the surrounding environment. Using passivity-based techniques, we allow the behavior of the group to be as flexible as possible with arbitrary split and join events (e.g., due to interrobot visibility/packet losses or specific task requirements) while guaranteeing the stability of the system. We provide a rigorous analysis of the system stability and steady-state characteristics and validate performance through human/hardware-in-the-loop simulations by considering a heterogeneous fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned ground vehicles as a case study. Finally, we also provide an experimental validation with four quadrotor UAVs.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Robotics  (Volume:28 ,  Issue: 5 )