Robots and humans closely working together within dynamic environments must be able to continuously look ahead and identify potential collisions within their ever-changing environment. To enable the robot to act upon such situational awareness, its controller requires an iterative collision detection capability that will allow for computationally efficient Proactive Adaptive Collaboration Intelligence (PACI) to ensure safe interactions.

In this paper, an algorithm is developed to evaluate a robot’s trajectory, evaluate the dynamic environment that the robot operates in, and predict collisions between the robot and dynamic obstacles in its environment. This algorithm takes as input the joint motion data of predefined robot execution plans and constructs a sweep of the robot’s instantaneous poses throughout time. The sweep models the trajectory as a point cloud containing all locations occupied by the robot and the time at which they will be occupied. To reduce the computational burden, Coons patches are leveraged to approximate the robot’s instantaneous poses. In parallel, the algorithm creates a similar sweep to model any human(s) and other obstacles being tracked in the operating environment. Overlaying temporal mapping of the sweeps reveals anticipated collisions that will occur if the robot-human do not proactively modify their motion. The algorithm is designed to feed into a segmentation and switching logic framework and provide real-time proactive-n-reactive behavior for different levels of human-robot interactions, while maintaining safety and production efficiency. To evaluate the predictive collision detection approach, multiple test cases are presented to quantify the computational speed and accuracy in predicting collisions.

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