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Autonomous Visual Assistance for Robot Operations Using a Tethered UAV

EasyChair Preprint no. 1348

14 pagesDate: July 30, 2019


This paper develops an autonomous tethered aerial visual assistant for robot operations in unstructured or confined environments. Robotic tele-operation in remote environments is difficult due to lack of sufficient situational awareness, mostly caused by the stationary and limited field-of-view and lack of depth perception from the robot's onboard camera. The emerging state of the practice is to use two robots, a primary and a secondary that acts as a visual assistant to overcome the perceptual limitations of the onboard sensors by providing an external viewpoint. However, problems exist when using a tele-operated visual assistant: extra manpower, manually chosen suboptimal viewpoint, and extra teamwork demand between primary and secondary operators. In this work, we use an autonomous tethered aerial visual assistant to replace the secondary robot and operator, reducing human robot ratio from 2:2 to 1:2. This visual assistant is able to autonomously navigate through unstructured or confined spaces in a risk-aware manner, while continuously maintaining good viewpoint quality to increase the primary operator's situational awareness. With the proposed co-robots team, tele-operation missions in nuclear operations, bomb squad, disaster robots, and other domains with novel tasks or highly occluded environments could benefit from reduced manpower and teamwork demand, along with improved visual assistance quality based on trustworthy risk-aware motion in cluttered environments.

Keyphrases: aerial visual assistant, autonomous aerial visual assistant, Autonomous Visual Assistance, co robot team, contact point, Enhanced situational awareness, explicit risk representation, motion execution risk, Motion Primitive, Rescue Robotic, risk element, risk index, risk representation, Risk-aware, tether length, tethered aerial visual assistant, Tethered UAV, Viewpoint quality, Visual Assistance, Visual Assistant

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Xuesu Xiao and Jan Dufek and Robin Murphy},
  title = {Autonomous Visual Assistance for Robot Operations Using a Tethered UAV},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 1348},

  year = {EasyChair, 2019}}
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