Operator control of telerobotic systems for real world intervention

Craig Peter Sayers, University of Pennsylvania


The unpredictability of real world environments makes it necessary to maintain the continuous influence of a human operator. We show that, using the teleprogramming paradigm, this is possible via narrow bandwidth delayed communications channels. To aid the operator we introduce the concept of Synthetic Fixtures which provide a mechanism for providing active assistance through the provision of force and visual clues. It is argued that providing synthetic force and visual feedback is both simpler and more powerful than attempting to provide complete realism. To further aid the operator we introduce an intelligent, dynamic scheme for continuously providing real visual imagery and argue for a tight coupling of the remote execution, communication, and imaging systems. It is argued that performance of at least some tasks is infeasible without visual or some other form of panoramic feedback. Working systems have been implemented in air, in a test tank and in the ocean. In the most recent experiments an operator in Philadelphia successfully performed retrieval operations using a remote manipulator on an unmanned vehicle submerged off the Massachusetts coast. All communication over the 500km intersite distance was via a combination of the internet and simulated acoustic communication links. These tests have demonstrated the feasibility of performing real-world intervention in unpredictable environments using delayed low-bandwidth communication links.

Subject Area

Computer science|Ocean engineering|Mechanical engineering

Recommended Citation

Sayers, Craig Peter, "Operator control of telerobotic systems for real world intervention" (1995). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9615120.