Jerk-based Control of Aerial Manipulators in Physical Interaction with the Environment

Finished: 2023-07-28

MSc assignment

Jerk-based controllers are promising strategies for humanoid robots balancing and basic locomotion [1] . The key feature of such control strategies is to include force feedback from force/torque sensors, a fundamental piece of information for robots performing physical interaction tasks. Force feedback is integrated in the control design through a parametrization of the contact forces, ensuring also the maintenance of contact stability conditions.

Jerk-based control design could find valuable and novel applications for the control of aerial manipulators: these robots are designed to perform physical interaction tasks, such as object manipulation and polishing [2] . Yet, there are still open questions that need to be resolved: firstly, it is required to investigate and possibly enforce the robustness of jerk controllers with regard to noisy FT sensor measurements. Secondly, force parameterization could be revised and extended to different contact conditions, for example, sliding along a surface while maintaining contact. Lastly, the control design and stability analysis may be extended to parametrize and also include joints and torques limits.

The goal of this master thesis will be to extend further the theoretical framework of jerk-based control and experimentally validate the new extension on the aerial manipulator Fiber-THex present at the RAM laboratory.

The project is in the context of a collaboration between RaM and Italian Institue of Technology IIT in Genoa, Italy. The student will work at RAM-UT and will also be remotely in contact with the researchers at Italian Insitute of Technology IIT.

The possibility for a short visit of the student at IIT can be considered, subject to the student performance, the agreement of the RAM-IIT supervising team, and the availability of the student own funding to cover he travel and accomodation costs related to the visit.

[1] A. Gazar, G. Nava, F. J. A. Chavez and D. Pucci, "Jerk Control of Floating Base Systems With Contact-Stable Parameterized Force Feedback," in IEEE Transactions on Robotics, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 1-15, Feb. 2021, doi: 10.1109/TRO.2020.3005547.

[2] A. Ollero et al., "The AEROARMS Project: Aerial Robots with Advanced Manipulation Capabilities for Inspection and Maintenance," in IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 12-23, Dec. 2018, doi: 10.1109/MRA.2018.2852789