The main goal of WP4 is to develop control technologies for the robotic arms that are suitable for the challenges of flexible objects manipulation in manufacturing cells. More precisely, WP4 is focused mainly on easy programming, with three related sub-topics:

1. Robotic skill-based easy programming : Set of hardware and software tools, consisting of physical interaction devices for easy learning of teachable primitives (such as points of interest, trajectories, forces…) ; high-level task-related software functions (aka skills) ; and user interfaces for skills learning and intuitive robot programming.

2. Operator intention detection for efficient human- or multi-robot collaborative handling of flexible part : software module integrating hybrid control strategy to tackle the problem of intention ambiguity between rotation and translation with two points of grasp, common problem between rigid and flexible parts robotic co-manipulation. Using perception system and non-intrusive sensing devices information, completed by task context information.

3. On-line robot learning : use of learning algorithms to improve the robot behaviour through on-line supervision, making use of information from the current and previous execution states. This allow improving dynamically the process quality by means of self-adaptive learning.

Current work is focused on prototyping a first set of software modules for the three sub-topics previously described, in order to demonstrate the resulting workflow(s) that can be applied to the Merging use cases.
The main technical challenge is about the multiplicity of software modules needed in order to get a working set usable on real-world tasks. Other notable challenges are : precision for gesture learning ; adaptability to new context (e.g. how to extrapolate a task already learned to a new product variant) ; and robustness of learning algorithms, given the limited amount of available data.

For the upcoming months, the main goal is to achieve a first working workflow using the software modules under current development. Two demonstrations are under work. The first one is based on the Thimonnier use-case (rail insertion of flexible pouches). The second one on the VDL use-case (large ply handling with human-robot comanipulation).