Sensor Fusion for Long-Reach Manipulators: System Description and Initial Experiments
Book, Wayne John
Huggins, James D.
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Precise knowledge of the end-effector position of long-reach, lightweight manipulators is important because the inherit flexibility can cause deflections and vibrations of the structure. A non-contact, low-cost position measurement is desirable for practical purposes. Our previous work focused on computer vision based methods to achieve this goal, see also [Obergfell and Book, 1992]. These investigations indicated sampling time and range or resolution limitations for the chosen approach. But alternative methods using a single sensor currently have similar limitations, e.g. drift, non-direct measurement, price. To solve these problems we consider sensor fusion, combining measurements from separate sources to yield faster and better position measurements. This approach is especially interesting for robotics applications since most robots are already equipped with the necessary sensors. We are planning to implement these methods on our manipulator testbeds: First on a one-link flexible manipulator and later on a two-link flexible long-reach manipulator. The robots are currently equipped with joint angle sensors, tachometer, strain gages and tip accelerometer.