1. Development of a team of mobile robotic manipulators for collaborative object handling
The problem of transporting a long object in an obstacle-filled environment from a given starting location to an end location using the leader-follower robot formation control is addressed in this project. Only the leader robot has the authority to make decisions and it possesses the main controller that drives the whole system. Using the sensor data provided by onboard sensors, the leader is capable of navigating through an unknown environment. The parameters that are required to maintain constant distance are computed by the leader and are transmitted to the follower using an explicit communication architecture. A vision-based semi-implicit communication strategy is combined with the direct data interchange method that oversights the virtual trailer between the leader and the follower, in the proposed system. A fiducial marker is mounted on the front of the follower robot and is captured by a camera attached to the leader robot. The experimental results suggest that the combined explicit and implicit communication method is more effective in cooperate object carrying tasks.