Safe and compliant control of redundant robots using superimposition of passive task-space controllers

Carlo Tiseo, Wolfgang Merkt, Wouter Wolfslag, Sethu Vijayakumar, Michael Mistry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Animals are capable of robust and reliable control in unstructured environments, where they effortlessly overcome the uncertainty of interaction and are capable of exploiting singularities. These conditions are a well-known challenge for robots due to the limitations of projected dynamics, which requires accurate modelling and is susceptible to singularities. This work proposes a compliant passive control method for redundant manipulators based on a superimposition of multiple passive task-space controllers in a hierarchy without requiring any knowledge of the robot dynamics. The proposed control framework of passive controllers is inherently stable, numerically well-conditioned (as no matrix inversions are required), and computationally inexpensive (as no optimisation is used). This method leverages and introduces a novel stiffness profile for a recently proposed passive controller with smooth transitions between the divergence and convergence phases making it particularly suitable when multiple passive controllers are combined through superimposition. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed method achieves sub-centimetre tracking performance during demanding dynamic tasks with fast-changing references, while remaining safe to interact with and robust to singularities. The data further show that the robot can fully take advantage of the redundancy to maintain the primary task accuracy while compensating for unknown environmental interactions, which is not possible from current frameworks that require accurate contact information.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1023-1038
Number of pages16
JournalNonlinear dynamics
Issue number2
Early online date27 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


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