Realization of Time-Domain Passivity Control for Robotic Variable Impedance Teleoperation Systems: Theory and Experimental Demonstration

MSc assignment

Previous research has shown that variable impedance in robotic teleoperation systems has significant benefits in task performance and adaptability. It also enhances user experience and performance when operating such a system. However, due to the artificial/digital nature of impedance variability, modern passivity-guaranteeing methods such as Time-Domain Passivity Control are no longer sufficient. Passivity guarantee is crucial for safe operation of and interaction between robotic systems, as well as for desirable performance. Recently, a theory has been developed to remedy this involving energy-aware control.

The research goal is to demonstrate and evaluate the feasibility of the proposed theory applied to a real system. That is, with the inclusion of non-negligible realization effects such as noise, resolution, saturation, model inaccuracy, discretization effects, and variable time delays; and for a real system with potentially limiting state observability and controllability. After this, consideration will be given to the compatibility of the proposed theory with other modern theories such that the best of both can be combined. Then, this compatibility will be demonstrated as well, again, under the realization effects. Finally, the effect of system complexity will be investigated, as opposed to the idealized, simple systems so far considered in theory. For example, the applicability in teleoperation systems will be investigated by controlled variance in teleoperation effects.

Both an extension of the theoretical proof and support by experimental demonstration is desired. The aim is to keep the experiments as simple as possible and isolate only the relevant system dynamics needed to demonstrate the theory. The application domain is teleoperation, hence experiments will be for a teleoperation system with a local and remote side. However, communication and transparency layer effects between sides will be fully controlled to simplify the experiment.

Demonstration / Proof of the theory will be done by investigating the passivity and stability of the system in comparison to a teleoperation system with both constant and variable impedance, both under basic TDPC control. The key indicator for evaluation is the energy dynamics of the system. Finally, a performance evaluation might be made for the compared systems to provide additional insights into the experimental performance of the proposed theory.