Key areas of robot agility include methods that increase capability and flexibility of industrial robots and facilitate robot re-tasking. Manual guidance can achieve robot agility effectively, provided that a safe and smooth interaction is guaranteed when the user exerts an external force on the end effector. We approach this by designing an adaptive admittance law that can adjust its parameters to modify the robot compliance in critical areas of the workspace, such as near and on configuration singularities, joint limits, and workspace limits, for a smooth and safe operation. Experimental validation was done with two tests: a constraint activation test and a 3D shape tracing task. In the first one, we validate the proper response to constraints and in the second one, we compare the proposed approach with different admittance parameter tuning strategies using a drawing task where the user is asked to guide the robot to trace a 3D profile with an accuracy or speed directive and evaluate performance considering path length error and execution time as metrics, and a questionnaire for user perception. Results show that appropriate response to individual and simultaneous activation of the aforementioned constraints for a safe and intuitive manual guidance interaction is achieved and that the proposed parameter tuning strategy has better performance in terms of accuracy, execution time, and subjective evaluation of users.
- Adaptive admittance control
- Manual guidance
- Multiple constraints activation
- Parameter tuning strategies comparison
- Physical human–robot interaction
- Robot agility