Automated assembly of truss structures in space requires vision-guided servoing for grasping a strut when its position and orientation are uncertain. This paper presents a methodology for efficient and robust vision-guided robot grasping alignment. The vision-guided grasping problem is related to vision-guided `docking' problems. It differs from other hand-in-eye visual servoing problems such as tracking in that the distance from the target is a relevant servo parameter. The methodology described in this paper is a hierarchy of levels in which the vision/robot interface is decreasingly `intelligent,' and increasingly fast. Speed is achieved primarily by information reduction. This reduction exploits the use of region-of-interest windows in the image plane and feature motion prediction. These reductions invariably require stringent assumptions about the image. Therefore, at a higher level, these assumptions are verified using slower, more reliable methods. This hierarchy provides for robust error recovery in that when a lower-level routine fails, the next-higher routine will be called and so on. A working system is described which visually aligns a robot to grasp a cylindrical strut. The system uses a single camera mounted on the end effector of a robot and requires only crude calibration parameters. The grasping procedure is fast and reliable, with a multi-level error recovery system.
Keith E. Nicewarner,
Robert B. Kelley,
"Reliable vision-guided grasping", Proc. SPIE 1829, Cooperative Intelligent Robotics in Space III, (1 November 1992); doi: 10.1117/12.131705; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.131705