Human robot cooperation with compliance adaptation along the motion trajectory

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In this paper we propose a novel approach for intuitive and natural physical human–robot interaction in cooperative tasks. Through initial learning by demonstration, robot behavior naturally evolves into a cooperative task, where the human co-worker is allowed to modify both the spatial course of motion as well as the speed of execution at any stage. The main feature of the proposed adaptation scheme is that the robot adjusts its stiffness in path operational space, defined with a Frenet–Serret frame. Furthermore, the required dynamic capabilities of the robot are obtained by decoupling the robot dynamics in operational space, which is attached to the desired trajectory. Speed-scaled dynamic motion primitives are applied for the underlying task representation. The combination allows a human co-worker in a cooperative task to be less precise in parts of the task that require high precision, as the precision aspect is learned and provided by the robot. The user can also freely change the speed and/or the trajectory by simply applying force to the robot. The proposed scheme was experimentally validated on three illustrative tasks. The first task demonstrates novel two-stage learning by demonstration, where the spatial part of the trajectory is demonstrated independently from the velocity part. The second task shows how parts of the trajectory can be rapidly and significantly changed in one execution. The final experiment shows two Kuka LWR-4 robots in a bi-manual setting cooperating with a human while carrying an object.

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The research leading to these results has received partial funding from the Horizon 2020 FoF Research & Innovation Action no. 723909, AUTOWARE, and by the GOSTOP programme, contract no C3330-16-529000, co-financed by Slovenia and the EU under the ERDF.

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Correspondence to Bojan Nemec.

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This is one of the several papers published in Autonomous Robots comprising the Special Issue on Learning for Human-Robot Collaboration.

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Nemec, B., Likar, N., Gams, A. et al. Human robot cooperation with compliance adaptation along the motion trajectory. Auton Robot 42, 1023–1035 (2018).

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  • Human robot coordination
  • Learning by demonstration
  • Dynamic motion primitives
  • Robot learning
  • Robot control