Dr Ashith Rajendra Babu

Research fellow in learning-based MPC motion-planning for robotic manipulators

Academic and research departments


R. B. Ashith Shyam, Zhou Hao, Umberto Montanaro, Shilp Dixit, Arunkumar Rathinam, Yang Gao, Gerhard Neumann, Saber Fallah (2021)Autonomous Robots for Space: Trajectory Learning and Adaptation Using Imitation, In: Frontiers in robotics and AI8638849pp. 638849-638849 Frontiers Media S.A

This paper adds on to the on-going efforts to provide more autonomy to space robots and introduces the concept of programming by demonstration or imitation learning for trajectory planning of manipulators on free-floating spacecraft. A redundant 7-DoF robotic arm is mounted on small spacecraft dedicated for debris removal, on-orbit servicing and assembly, autonomous and rendezvous docking. The motion of robot (or manipulator) arm induces reaction forces on the spacecraft and hence its attitude changes prompting the Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS) to take large corrective action. The method introduced here is capable of finding the trajectory that minimizes the attitudinal changes thereby reducing the load on ADCS. One of the critical elements in spacecraft trajectory planning and control is the power consumption. The approach introduced in this work carry out trajectory learning offline by collecting data from demonstrations and encoding it as a probabilistic distribution of trajectories. The learned trajectory distribution can be used for planning in previously unseen situations by conditioning the probabilistic distribution. Hence almost no power is required for computations after deployment. Sampling from a conditioned distribution provides several possible trajectories from the same start to goal state. To determine the trajectory that minimizes attitudinal changes, a cost term is defined and the trajectory which minimizes this cost is considered the optimal one.