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A framework for the intelligent control of industrial manipulators is described. The control structure that is described is designed to take full advantage of the improved sensing capabilities and more powerful languages that have become, or are now becoming, available. The framework is a hierarchical structure is which the aspects of motion control are isolated in independent layers of the organization. A scheme for control that is nontraditional in orientation is introduced; it is specifically intended to operate in the framework presented. The control scheme is not strictly organized, but rather achieves the same pose in response to both the intended goal and the real-world conditions. Two adjacent layers of the hierarchy are discussed in detail. These layers are capable of providing noncompliant control of a multijointed manipulator. It is indicated where other aspects of intelligent machine control are located in this structure, but there are no details presented regarding their operating specifics such as vision, taction, and collision avoidance.