Control Model for Robotic Backhoe Excavation and Obstacle Handling

by Xiaodong Huang, North Carolina State Univ, Raleigh, United States,
Leonhard E. Bernold, North Carolina State Univ, Raleigh, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Robotics for Challenging Environments


Excavation of soil and rock is a high volume and repetitive construction operation. Robots, which are suitable for incessant and repeated manipulations, can find many potential applications. Robotic excavation is also expected to be helpful in the removal of radioactive and contaminated nuclear wastes. Research in robotic excavation has been focusing mainly on path planning and path control. Very little is known about how to detect and handle underground obstacles such as rocks or utility lines robotically. This paper introduces a research facility to study robotic backhoe excavation using a heavy-duty hydraulically powered and computer controlled manipulator. The control system for this robotic backhoe excavator is based on multiple sensors for force, acceleration, and position measurements. The same set of sensors is also used for obstacle detection, recognition, and surface mapping. Approaches for the detection and recognition of removable and non-removable obstacles are discussed. Contour mapping procedures have been developed to provide a partial surface map of a buried obstacle.

Subject Headings: Automation and robotics | Excavation | Equipment and machinery | Control systems | Probe instruments | Mapping | Rocks | Radioactive wastes

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