We propose to develop a new software product called MoveIt Studio that provides supervised autonomy capabilities. It is a premium add-on for MoveIt, our current Open Source offering. MoveIt Studio enables an operator to command and control one or more robots through an easy-to-use, no-code interface. Operators can easily perform routine operations through a library of predefined objectives. Our system automatically takes an objective, composed of a series of tasks, and computes feasible motion plans, starting from the current state of the environment. This plan is continuously updated as changes in the environment are observed by the robot. MoveIt Studio also offers more direct control of a robot through several manual modes. The manual modes range from directly controlling joints to controlling end effector poses to a “point-and-click” affordance-based interface. The key innovations of the proposed work are the creation of a library of parameterized, reusable tasks that can be composed to solve more complex tasks. The user interface supports on-the-fly creation of new objectives composed of such tasks. Another key innovation is the combination of a spectrum of autonomous control methods that enables operators to easily switch between different desired/required levels of human supervision.
Robots are expected to take on a more important role in future space missions. Our proposed system would enable operators to specify tasks involving complex, coordinated motions for robots such as Robonaut 2 in microgravity environments like the International Space Station or the Gateway. The system will automatically compute feasible paths that can be selected and refined by the operator for execution. Parameterized, reusable tasks for NASA-relevant scenarios will be created.
During our customer discovery process we have identified several industries that can benefit from the proposed research. In the energy industry (oil & gas, wind energy) there is an increased need for software that enables operators to effectively use mobile manipulators for inspection and routine maintenance tasks. There are also many military applications (e.g. Explosive Ordnance Disposal).