D4.1 - The NCNR-Toshiba project for reliable remote robotics control protocols

Bristol Research and Innovation Laboratory

Since its inception in 1998, the Bristol Research and Innovation Laboratory (BRIL) has been at the cutting edge of wireless and network systems research.

The NCNR-Toshiba project was carried out to investigate the use of wireless communication protocols for real time robot teleoperation. This is particularly important for scenarios where the use of a wired connection between the leader and follower robots is limited, difficult or impossible. Tele-operation was achieved by sending data packets between the leader and follower robots via different communication protocols. Joint positions and velocities of the leader robot were sent to the follower robot, while external torque of the follower robot was sent to the leader robot. Heuristic evaluation was carried out to compare the effectiveness of wired TCP/IP and wireless TCP/IP with Toshiba’s low-power communication protocol called GALLOP. Send and receive times of data packets between the leader and follower robots were measured as well as position and velocity errors.

Questionnaires were also completed by robotics experts who volunteered to take part in the evaluation. In the questionnaire, 5- point Likert scale ratings were used to request the experts’ perceived smoothness, feeling of safety and responsiveness of the robot control for the different communication protocols examined.

Results showed that GALLOP is a reasonable replacement for wired connection, but more studies are needed to investigate the effect of radiation on wireless communication protocols examined. Journal and demo papers have been written on the teleoperation setup and results from the heuristic study