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Journal of Robotics
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 389158, 12 pages
Research Article

Advanced Methods for Robot-Environment Interaction towards an Industrial Robot Aware of Its Volume

Comau Robotics S.p.A., Via Rivalta 30, 10095 Turin, Italy

Received 27 January 2011; Accepted 11 July 2011

Academic Editor: Gordon R. Pennock

Copyright © 2011 Fabrizio Romanelli. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A fundamental aspect of robot-environment interaction in industrial environments is given by the capability of the control system to model the structured and unstructured environment features. Industrial robots have to perform complex tasks at high speeds and have to satisfy hard cycle times while maintaining the operations extremely precise. The capability of the robot to perceive the presence of environmental objects is something still missing in the real industrial context. Although anthropomorphic robot producers have faced problems related to the interaction between robot and its environment, there is not an exhaustive study on the capabilities of the robot being aware of its volume and on the tools eventually mounted on its flange. In this paper, a solution to model the environment of the robot in order to make it capable of perceiving and avoiding collisions with the objects in its surroundings is shown. Furthermore, the model will be extended to take also into account the volume of the robot tool in order to extend the perception capabilities of the entire system. Testing results will be showed in order to validate the method, proving that the system is able to cope with complex real surroundings.