A PDA-based teleoperation interface to control ATRV robots and simulated robots
Date of Issue2009
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Robotics Research Centre
Since the first telerobotic system was deployed for handling radioactive materials in 1940s, numerous tasks that were once undertaken by human beings are performed by telerobots. Nowadays, telerobotics has turned to be one of our most influential technologies. To enable the interaction between human beings and robots, researchers employed various platforms to build interfaces. Being inexpensive, small, portable, and fairly easy to use, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) have convinced many as an attractive device. The objective of this project is to develop a PDA-based teleoperation interface that is able to control multiple mobile robots from different robotics systems, i.e. All-Terrain Robot Vehicle (ATRV) robots and simulated robots, with varying degree of autonomy. A PDA device is chosen as the platform of the interface system with the prime consideration that human controller can control and monitor the behavior of robots with assistance from a portable interface. Simulated robots are created in a 3D virtual environment—Robotics Simulator. Performing experiment in simulator is recognized as a safe, cost effective, time saving solution to study Human Robot Interactions (HRI). During the development process, two basic problems have been successfully tackled. Firstly, a problem with the development of an interface is that the process needs to be repeated when a new robotics system is introduced. In this project, new system architecture was created to make the teleoperation system independent from the mobile robots. Thus the teleoperation system is adaptable to other mobile intelligent systems that have different source codes or program architectures but are incorporated with similar control functions. Secondly, the major limitation of PDAs is its restricted computing resource. Especially as the number of robots increases, data congestion is frequently observed in the PDA interface. In this project, the developed teleoperation system has made a breakthrough in the robot size. Results of user driving test prove that the system is robust enough to support ten robots concurrently. Moreover, a dialogue-based graphical user interface (GUI) has been developed to address the human-robot interaction scenarios, such as “single human - single robot” and “single human - multiple robots”. User Centered Design process is applied to the design and implementation of the GUI. Human factors such as operator workload, situation awareness, and human errors are of great importance in this process. Various performance indicators such as fan-out and interaction efforts prove that the developed system has many improvements in GUI design. Finally, the teleoperation interface is employed in a preliminary experiment to study the efficiency of human-robot team. In conclusion, a reliable teleoperation system has been successfully implemented to facilitate HRI and boost the control efficiency. The system achieved allows the user to deploy multiple mobile robots from diverse robotics systems.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University