A-DREAMS advanced robotics ground control station
ESA’s work on a ground control station for space robotics operations has recently been extended – telemanipulation and visual perception abilities have been added to the existing teleoperation capabilities.
Due to high cost of sending humans into space, the application of robotics systems is considered an attractive alternative to and/or a complement for future space missions. Over the last 15 years, ESA has devoted considerable effort to the area of space robotics. Concepts, methods and tools have been developed to cover all areas related to high-level robot programming and interaction with space robotics activities. The Distributed Robotics & Automation Environment for Advanced Missions Specification and Supervision (DREAMS) system integrates these results into a ground control station that provides a human operator with the facility to teleoperate robots at a remote site – that is, to request the on-board execution of operations while supervising their evolution.
While the high level robot programming and supervision concept is perfectly adequate to perform space robotic activities in a well structured environment, some situations requires a lower level of interaction with the robot when, for example:
In the telemanipulation mode, the operator extends his manipulation and sensing capability to a remote location using a master device that remotely controls a slave robot located at the operations site.
The telemanipulation subsystem implements bi-lateral telemanipulation control. It consists of:
The design of the telemanipulation subsystem is modular, to allow enhancement by the integration of other types of haptic devices and control algorithms. This is achieved by the separate development and deployment of the real-time executive and the telemanipulation task and action. In this way, the integration of a new master and/or slave robot or of a new algorithm is limited to the design of a new action.
When operating in a structured environment that is only partially known and, in addition, evolves independently or because of the robot actions, the ability to reconstruct the real-world environment in three dimensions is mandatory for the safe and successful completion of the robotic operations. The perception subsystem consists of an imaging head (a pair of cameras) and dedicated software for the construction of a 3D-elevation map based on a pair of images.
Last update: 3 February 2011