Combining vision verification with a high level robot programming language
This thesis describes work on using vision verification within an object level language for describing robot assembly (RAPT). The motivation for this thesis is provided by two problems. The first is how to enhance a high level robot programming language so that it can encompass vision commands to locate workpieces of an assembly. The second is how to find a way of making full use of sensory information to update the robot system's knowledge about the environment. The work described in this thesis consists of three parts: (1) adding vision commands into the RAPT input language so that the user can specify vision verification tasks; (2) implementing a symbolic geometrical reasoning system so that vision data can be reasoned about symbolically at compile time in order to speed up run time operations; (3) providing a framework which enables the RAPT system to make full use of the sensory information. The vision commands allow partial information about positions to be combined with sensory information in a general way, and the symbolic reasoning system allows much of the reasoning work about vision information to be done before the actual information is obtained. The framework combines a verification vision facility with an object level language in an intelligent way so that all ramifications of the effects of sensory data are taken account of. The heart of the framework is the modifying factor array. The position of each object is expressed as the product of two parts: the planned position and the difference between this and "he actual one. This difference, referred to as the modifying factor of an object, is stored in the modifying factor array. The planned position is described by the user in the usual way in a RAPT program and its value is inferred by the RAPT reasoning system. Modifying factors of objects whose positions are directly verified are defined at compile time as symbolic expressions containing variables whose value will become known at run time. The modifying factors of other objects (not directly verified) may be dependent upon positions of objects which are verified. At compile time the framework reasons about the influence of the sensory information on the objects which are not verified directly by the vision system, and establishes connections among modifying factors of objects in each situation. This framework makes the representation of the influence of vision information on the robot's knowledge of the environment compact and simple. All the programming has been done. It has been tested with simulated data and works successfully.