NASA 1996 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER : 96-1 05.04-3155A

PROJECT TITLE : Fuzzy Logic Control of Docking and Berthing Using Multiple, Integrated Sensors

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

Robotic or telerobotic docking and berthing are complex tasks require multiple sensory modalities and complex controller that can make intelligent use of those modalities. Docking and berthing have historically consisted of sequential use of multiple sensor modalities. Typically,vision has been used to detect and recognize objects at a distance; force sensors, when the robot is in physical contact with the mating object; and proximity sensors to fill the sensor void after which vision ceases to be useful and before contact with the object has occurred. A mehtodology is proposed for incorporating these multiple (and possibly conflicting) sensory modalities into the control paradigm for robotic docking and berthing. The method is based on the selector matrix technique commonly used to switch between force and position (or velocity) control in hybrid controllers. The method is enhanced by using a fuzzy expert system ot mediate the switching between control modes, therby smoothing the trasitions between the various sensor modaoities. The instability induced in the robot caused by such switching paradigms can therefore be reduced. The performance of the smoothed controller will then be quantitatively compared to the performance of a traditional, crisp, non-smoothed controller.
POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
Major industrial application areas for robotics will be in mechanical assembly and in the service industry. In the parts-mating tasks common in these areas, use of multiple sensors will be vital. The military has numerous applications involving munitions handling, vehicle nmaintenance, component assembly and disassembly, and material recovery in hazardous, hostile, and friendly environments. All major federal and private research labs have ongoing programs involving force control of robots.
NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
Mr Donald Myers
Intelligent Automation Inc
2 Research Pl Suite 202
Rockville, MD 20850
NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR
Intelligent Automation, Inc.
2 Research Place, Suite 202
Rockville, MD 20850