Attractor dynamics approach to joint transportation by autonomous robots: theory, implementation and validation on the factory floor

  • Toni Machado
  • Tiago Malheiro
  • Sérgio Monteiro
  • Wolfram Erlhagen
  • Estela Bicho
Article
  • 17 Downloads

Abstract

This paper shows how non-linear attractor dynamics can be used to control teams of two autonomous mobile robots that coordinate their motion in order to transport large payloads in unknown environments, which might change over time and may include narrow passages, corners and sharp U-turns. Each robot generates its collision-free motion online as the sensed information changes. The control architecture for each robot is formalized as a non-linear dynamical system, where by design attractor states, i.e. asymptotically stable states, dominate and evolve over time. Implementation details are provided, and it is further shown that odometry or calibration errors are of no significance. Results demonstrate flexible and stable behavior in different circumstances: when the payload is of different sizes; when the layout of the environment changes from one run to another; when the environment is dynamic—e.g. following moving targets and avoiding moving obstacles; and when abrupt disturbances challenge team behavior during the execution of the joint transportation task.

Keywords

Joint transportation Autonomous robots Mobile robots Obstacle avoidance Unknown environments Attractor dynamics 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia within the scope of the Project PEst-UID/CEC/00319/2013 and by the Ph.D. Grants SFRH/BD/38885/2007 and SFRH/BPD/71874/2010, as well as funding from FP6-IST2 EU-IP Project JAST (Proj. Nr. 003747). We would like to thank the anonymous reviewers, whose comments have contributed to improve the paper.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (mp4 1015 KB)

Supplementary material 2 (mp4 1205 KB)

Supplementary material 3 (mp4 5410 KB)

10514_2018_9729_MOESM4_ESM.mp4 (7.3 mb)
Supplementary material 4 (mp4 7444 KB)

Supplementary material 5 (mp4 7248 KB)

References

  1. Abou-Samah, M., Tang, C., Bhatt, R., & Krovi, V. (2006). A kinematically compatible framework for cooperative payload transport by nonholonomic mobile manipulators. Autonomous Robots, 21, 227–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahmadabadi, M., & Nakano, E. (2001). A "constrain and move" approach to distributed object manipulation. IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation, 17(2), 157–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Althaus, P., Christensen, H. I., & Hoffmann, F. (2001). Using the dynamical system approach to navigate in realistic real-world environments. In Proceedings of the IEEE/RSJ international conference on intelligent robots and systems, Grenoble, France. Google Scholar
  4. Asahiro, Y., Chang, E., Mali, A., Suzuki, I., & Yamashita, M. (2001). A distributed ladder transportation algorithm for two robots in a corridor. In Proceedings of the international conference on robotics and automation, ICRA 2001 (pp. 3016–3021).Google Scholar
  5. Bayram, H., & Bozma, I. (2016). Coalition formation games for dynamic multirobot tasks. The International Journal of Robotics Research, 35(5), 514–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bicho, E. (2000). Dynamic approach to behavior-based robotics: Design, specification, analysis, simulation and implementation. Aachen: Shaker Verlag.Google Scholar
  7. Bicho, E., & Schöner, G. (1997). The dynamic approach to autonomous robotics demonstrated on a low-level vehicle platform. Robotics and Autonomous Systems, 21(1), 23–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bicho, E., Mallet, P., & Schöner, G. (2000). Target representation on an autonomous vehicle with low-level sensors. The International Journal of Robotics Research, 19(5), 424–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bouloubasis, A., & McKee, G. (2005). Cooperative transport of extended payloads. In Proceedings of the 12th international conference on advanced robotics (ICAR’05), Seatle, USA (pp. 882–887).Google Scholar
  10. Cao, Y., Kukunaga, A., & Kahng, A. (1997). Cooperative mobile robotics: Antecedents and directions. Autonomous Robots, 4, 7–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cheng, P., Fink, J., Kumar, V., & Pang, J. S. (2009). Cooperative towing with multiple robots. Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics, 1(1), 011008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Costa e Silva, E., Bicho, E., Erlhagen, W. (2006). The potential field method and the nonlinear attractor dynamics approach: What are the differences? In Control 2006 7th Portuguese conference on automatic control, Lisboa, Portugal (pp. 816–822).Google Scholar
  13. Donald, B., Gariepy, L., & Rus, D. (2000). Distributed manipulation of multiple objects using ropes. In IEEE international conference on, robotics and automation, 2000. Proceedings. ICRA’00, IEEE (Vol. 1, pp. 450–457).Google Scholar
  14. Durrant-Whyte, H. F. (1996). An autonomous guided vehicle for cargo handling applications. The International Journal of Robotics Research, 15(5), 407–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ellekilde, L. P., & Perram, J. W. (2005). Tool center trajectory planning for industrial robot manipulators using dynamical systems. The International Journal of Robotics Research, 24(5), 385–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Endo, M., Hirose, K., Hirata, Y., Kosuge, K., Kanbayashi, T., Oomoto, M., et al. (2008). A car transportation system by multiple mobile robots-icart. In 2008 IEEE/RSJ international conference on intelligent robots and systems, IEEE (pp. 2795–2801).Google Scholar
  17. Fajen, B. R., Warren, W. H., Temizer, S., & Kaelbling, L. P. (2003). A dynamical model of visually-guided steering, obstacle avoidance, and route selection. International Journal of Computer Vision, 54(1/2/3), 13–24.CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  18. Fujii, M., Inamura, W., Murakami, H., Tanaka, K., & Kosuge, K. (2007). Cooperative control of multiple mobile robots transporting a single object with loose handling. In IEEE international conference on robotics and biomimetics, Sanya (pp. 816–822).Google Scholar
  19. Gross, R., & Dorigo, M. (2009). Towards group transport by swarms of robots. International Journal of Bio-Inspired Computation, 1(1–2), 1–13.Google Scholar
  20. Hashimoto, M., Oba, F., & Zenitani, S. (1993). Coordinative object-transportation by multiple industrial mobile robots using coupler with mechanical compliance. In Proceedings of the international conference on industrial electronics, control and instrumentation, Maui, USA (pp. 1577–1582).Google Scholar
  21. Hernandes, A. C., Guerrero, H. B., Becker, M., Jokeit, J. S., & Schöner, G. (2014). A comparison between reactive potential fields and attractor dynamics. In 2014 IEEE 5th Colombian workshop on circuits and systems (CWCAS), IEEE (pp. 1–5).Google Scholar
  22. Hess, M., Saska, M., & Schilling, K. (2009). Application of coordinated multi-vehicle formations for snow shoveling on airports. Intelligent Service Robotics, 2(4), 205–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Iossifidis, I., & Schoener, G. (2006). Dynamical systems approach for the autonomous avoidance of obstacles and joint-limits for an redundant robot arm. In Proceedings of the IEEE/RSJ international conference on intelligent robots and systems (pp. 580–585).Google Scholar
  24. Jones, C., & Mataric, M. (2005). Behavior-based coordination in multi-robot system. In S. S. Ge & F. Lewis (Eds.), Autonomous mobile robots: Sensing, control, decision-making, and applications. New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc.Google Scholar
  25. Kashiwazaki, K., Yonezawa, N., Endo, M., Kosuge, K., Sugahara, Y., Hirata, Y., et al. (2011). A car transportation system using multiple mobile robots: ICART II. In 2011 IEEE/RSJ international conference on intelligent robots and systems, IEEE (pp. 4593–4600).Google Scholar
  26. Khatib, O. (1986). Real-time obstacle avoidance for manipulators and mobile robots. The International Journal of Robotics Research, 5(1), 90–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kim, Y., & Minor, M. (2010). Coordinated kinematic control of compliantly coupled multirobot systems in an array format. IEEE Transactions on Robotics, 26(1), 173–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. La Salle, J., & Lefschetz, S. (2012). Stability by Liapunov’s direct method with applications by Joseph L Salle and Solomon Lefschetz (Vol. 4). New York: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  29. Loh, C. C., & Traechtler, A. (2012). Cooperative transportation of a load using nonholonomic mobile robots. International symposium on robotics and intelligent sensors 2012, Procedia Engineering (Vol. 41, pp. 860–866) (IRIS 2012).Google Scholar
  30. Machado, T., Malheiro, T., Erlhagen, W., & Bicho, E. (2016). Multi-constrained joint transportation tasks by teams of autonomous mobile robots using a dynamical systems approach. In 2016 IEEE international conference on robotics and automation (ICRA), IEEE (pp. 3111–3117).Google Scholar
  31. Machado, T., Malheiro, T., Monteiro, S., Bicho, E., & Erlhagen, W. (2013). Transportation of long objects in unknown cluttered environments by a team of robots: A dynamical systems approach. In 2013 IEEE international symposium on industrial electronics (ISIE), IEEE (pp. 1–6).Google Scholar
  32. Monteiro, S., & Bicho, E. (2010). Attractor dynamics approach to formation control: Theory and application. Autonomous Robots, 29, 331–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Parker, L. E. (2000). Current state of the art in distributed autonomous mobile robotics. In L. Parker, G. Bekey, & J. Barhen (Eds.), Distributed autonomous robotic Systems 4 (pp. 3–12). Tokyo: Springer.Google Scholar
  34. Pereira, G., Pimentel, B., Chaimowicz, L., & Campos, M. (2002). Coordination of multiple mobile robots in an object carrying task using implicit communication. In Proceedings of the international conference on robotics and automation, Washington, DC (pp. 281–286).Google Scholar
  35. Reimann, H., Iossifidis, I., Schöner, G. (2010). Generating collision free reaching movements for redundant manipulators using dynamical systems. In 2010 IEEE/RSJ international conference on intelligent robots and systems (IROS), IEEE (pp. 5372–5379).Google Scholar
  36. Sabattini, L., Secchi, C., & Fantuzzi, C. (2011). Arbitrarily shaped formations of mobile robots: Artificial potential fields and coordinate transformation. Autonomous Robots, 30(4), 385–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Schöner, G., Dose, M., & Engels, C. (1995). Dynamics of behavior: Theory and applications for autonomous robot architectures. Robotics and Autonomous Systems, 16, 213–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Soares, R., Bicho, E., Machado, T., & Erlhagen, W. (2007). Object transportation by multiple mobile robots controlled by attractor dynamics: theory and implementation. In Proceedings of the IEEE/RSJ international conference on intelligent robots and systems, San Diego, CA (pp. 937–944).Google Scholar
  39. Sprunk, C., Lau, B., Pfaff, P., & Burgard, W. (2017). An accurate and efficient navigation system for omnidirectional robots in industrial environments. Autonomous Robots, 41(2), 473–493.Google Scholar
  40. Steinhage, A. (1997). Dynamical systems for the generation of navigation behavior. Ph.D. thesis, Ruhr-Universitat Bochum, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  41. Stouten, B., & Graaf, A. (2004). Cooperative transportation of a large object: Development of an industrial application. In Proceedings of the international conference on robotics and automation (pp. 2450–2455).Google Scholar
  42. Streuber, S., & Chatziastros, A. (2007). Human interaction in multi-user virtual reality. In Proceedings of the 10th international conference on humans and computers (HC 2007).Google Scholar
  43. Sudsang, A. (2002). Sweeping the floor: Moving multiple objects with multiple disc-shaped robots. In Proceedings of the IEEE/RSJ international conference on intelligent robots and systems, Lausanne, Switzerland (pp. 2825–2830).Google Scholar
  44. Takeda, H., Wang, Z. D., & Kosuge, K. (2003). Collision avoidance algorithm for two tracked mobile robots transporting a single object in coordination based on function allocation concept-utilization of environmental information by visual sensor. In Proceedings of the 11th international conference on advanced robotics, ICAR 2003, Coimbra, Portugal (pp. 488–493).Google Scholar
  45. Tang, C., Bhatt, R., & Krovi, V. (2004). Decentralized kinematic control of payload transport by a system of mobile manipulators. In Proceedings of the IEEE international conference on robotics and automation, New Orleans, LA (pp. 2462–2467).Google Scholar
  46. Tanner, H., Loizou, S., & Kyriakopoulos, K. (2003). Nonholonomic navigation and control of cooperating mobile manipulators. IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation, 19(1), 53–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Trebi-Ollennu, A., Nayar, H., Aghazarian, H., Ganino, A., Pirjanian, P., Kennedy, B., et al. (2002). Mars rover pair cooperatively transporting a long payload. In Proceedings of the IEEE international conference on robotics and automation (Vol. 3, pp. 3136–3141).Google Scholar
  48. Tsiamis, A., Bechlioulis, C. P., Karras, G. C., & Kyriakopoulos, K. J. (2015). Decentralized object transportation by two nonholonomic mobile robots exploiting only implicit communication. In 2015 IEEE international conference on robotics and automation (ICRA), IEEE (pp. 171–176).Google Scholar
  49. Wada, M., & Torii, R. (2013). Cooperative transportation of a single object by omnidirectional robots using potential method. In 2013 16th international conference on advanced robotics (ICAR), IEEE (pp. 1–6).Google Scholar
  50. Widyotriatmo, A., & Hong, K. S. (2011). Navigation funtion-based control of multiple wheeled vehicles. IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, 58(5), 1896–1906.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Yamaguchi, H., Nishijima, A., & Kawakami, A. (2015). Control of two manipulation points of a cooperative transportation system with two car-like vehicles following parametric curve paths. Robotics and Autonomous Systems, 63, 165–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Yamashita, A., Arai, T., Ota, J., & Asama, H. (2003). Motion planning of multiple mobile robots for cooperative manipulation and transportation. IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation, 19(2), 223–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Yamashita, A., Sasaki, J., Ota, J., & Arai, T. (1998). Cooperative manipulation of objects by multiple mobile robots with tools. In Proceedings of the 4th Japan-France/2nd Asia-Europe congress on mechatronics, Citeseer (Vol. 310, p. 315).Google Scholar
  54. Yang, X., Watanabe, K., Izumi, K., & Kiguchi, K. (2004). A decentralized control system for cooperative transportation by multiple non-holonomic mobile robots. International Journal of Control, 77(10), 949–963.MathSciNetCrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  55. Yufka, A., Parlaktuna, O., & Ozkan, M. (2010). Formation-based cooperative transportation by a group of non-holonomic mobile robots. In 2010 IEEE international conference on systems man and cybernetics (SMC), Istanbul, Turkey (pp. 3300–3307).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Industrial ElectronicsUniversity of MinhoGuimaraesPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Mathematics and ApplicationsUniversity of MinhoGuimaraesPortugal

Personalised recommendations