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This paper presents a synergistic approach to danger assessment and safety-oriented control of articulated robots that are based on a quantity called danger field. This quantity captures the state of the robot as a whole and indicates how dangerous the current posture and velocity of the robot are to the objects in the environment. The field itself is invariant with respect to objects around the robot and can be computed in any given point of the robot's workspace using measurements from the proprioceptive sensors. Furthermore, the danger field can be expressed in the closed form, which enables its fast computation. Apart from being a pure safety assessment, the danger field provides a natural prelude to safety-oriented control strategy. Namely, the information about the danger field can easily be fed back to shape standard control schemes in order to make the motion of the robot safer to the environment. The proposed method is validated through simulations and experiments.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2013