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Summary

Mobile manipulators with dexterous manipulation capabilities already exist and they can assist man in simple tasks in a versatile manner. In work environments its use as co-workers is possible, acting as logistic transporters and as versatile and dexterous manipulators, to cooperate with human operators to improve the efficiency of the work done. Nevertheless, to make this reality, some improvements in hardware and software are still required in order to allow a higher degree of adaptability.

This project pursues a system composed of several mobile manipulators capable of acting in indoor semi-structured environments executing handling and assembly tasks in collaboration with human operators. The system must facilitate the human-robot collaboration that, on the one hand, can be done in an autonomous way (i.e. the mobile manipulators are required to cooperate with humans by performing autonomously complementary tasks while moving around in the humans environment and in their presence) and, on the other hand, can be done through interaction (i.e. with a virtual interaction via teleoperation, or with a physical interaction through an object jointly handled).

The project focuses on the development of planning, reasoning and control algorithms, and in the development of the necessary software to provide mobile manipulators with the autonomy and the capacity of interaction to allow the cooperation with humans.

 In the sought horizon, robot co-workers must provide support to humans and integrate into their tasks and movements in a natural, fluid, safe and minimally invasive way, facilitating the acceptance by human workers of the changes that may result.

Upon completion of the project, it will be available a test bed that should allow to investigate the behavior of humans in front of the work jointly carried out with robot co-workers, as well as the perceptions and the possible social acceptance of the changes involved. The project aims, therefore, to contribute to the resolution of the problem posed by the introduction of robots as co-workers, for the change that it may represent at the social level, and for its individual and collective perception, since the early consideration of these aspects will contribute to the acceptance of robots as an integral part of our lives and to its use without delay.