Teleoperated control of locomotion with time delays for reconnaissance in dangerous fire situations

MSc assignment

In the “Rots in de Brand'' project (the successor of the "FireBot" project), we are working on teleoperating robotic platforms for reconnaissance in dangerous fire situations. An example is a burning electric vehicle in an underground parking garage. In this situation, it is extremely dangerous to enter the building. By sending a teleoperated robot, firefighters can be kept safe.

Currently, the control of the robotic platforms is cumbersome to the extent that a firefighter is still walking directly behind the vehicle and is still put in a dangerous situation. One of the things that makes control cumbersome is time delays between the commanded motion and the perceived motion through the video stream.

As part of the project, technical improvements are realized to improve the controllability of the platforms. To make effective technical improvements we need to better understand the technical requirements.

Assignment goal

The goal of this assignment is to gain more insight into the effect of time delays of different magnitudes on the locomotion control of platforms. More specifically, it is important to know the maximum allowable time delay before the controllability of the system deteriorates to an unacceptable level.


To reach the goal, the following activities are part of the assignment:

  1. Extensive literature study on the effect of time delays on locomotion control to obtain an overview of the current state of understanding.
  2. Formulation of research questions and hypothesis based on the outcomes of the literature search
  3. Design and execute user experiments to address (a selection of) the questions.
    1. Design a set of experiments that provide results that can be used to answer the research questions.
    2. Set up a simple practical setup consisting of a differential drive robot (Clearpath Husky, available in the lab) controlled with a standard remote controller. A video stream should be realized from the platform to the operator using standard materials.
    3. Execute the user experiments
    4. Process and critically discuss the results and draw conclusions resulting in a proposed set of requirements.