The objectives of " TELEMAN 8" were:
- to design a vehicle capable of running in a geometrically complex environment managing difficult tasks both on a flat surface (small radius of curvature, drive in x and y directions) and off a flat surface (to overcome obstacles as high as the wheel diameter, to climb stairs, and to negotiate longitudinal and transverse slopes);
- to develop a control system for vehicle control by means of high level commands;
- to design an umbilical cable management unit for the communication link between vehicle and operator.
A series of building blocks has been developed for incorporation into the Ansaldo hybrid legged/wheeled locomotion vehicle to make it easier, safer, and more reliable in its use. The main basic technologies developed in this project were:
intelligent route planning with reference to a general 'a priori' known geometric model of the environment with real time modifications of the planned route;
mechanical design of an innovative locomotion concept and development of the control scheme for a kinematically and dynamically complex system;
mechanical design and control of intelligent umbilical management system.
The integration of the above technologies has led to the design of a mobile machine that can navigate in a complex environment such as a nuclear power plant to collect information, relay signals, provide alternative viewpoints, or, by adding a manipulator, serve to carry out various kinds of tasks.
The work on the building blocks for simulation of the kinematics and dynamics of articulated robotic vehicles and on the design of the umbilical handling device is being exploited in the TELEMAN TM50 - MESSINA robust intervention vehicle research machine project. Further research and development for the mechanics and control of the Andsaldo hybrid locomotion vehicle is required before commercial exploitation will be possible. Scientific results are being disseminated through scientific journals and conferences.
Work to be done
The work was to be based on a prototype developed by Ansaldo that had demonstrated the potential of the " hybrid locomotion" concept while highlighting some mechanical problems. High level control and umbilical management were not yet implemented on the prototype. The work was to include:
-mechanical design (starting from the experience gained in the manufacture and testing of the prototype) including the position and force control loops for the wheel and leg actuators;
-control design, including the kinematic and dynamic analysis of the vehicle behaviour to define the strategies and control algorithms to meet the functional requirements;
-mechanical and control design of the umbilical management unit, including the definition of the control philosophy.
The development software was to be tested using simulation techniques, in order to refine the design in preparation for a prototype building phase.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts