Fault Detection and Fault Tolerance in Robotics
Visinsky, Monica L.; Walker, Ian D.; Cavallaro, Joseph R.
Robots are used in inaccessible or hazardous environments in order to alleviate some of the time, cost and risk involved in preparing men to endure these conditions. In order to perform their expected tasks, the robots are often quite complex, thus increasing their potential for failures. If men must be sent into these environments to repair each component failure in the robot, the advantages of using the robot are quickly lost. Fault tolerant robots are needed which can effectively cope with failures and continue their tasks until repairs can be realistically scheduled. Before fault tolerant capabilities can be created, methods of detecting and pinpointing failures must be perfected. This paper develops a basic fault tree analysis of a robot in order to obtain a better understanding of where failures can occur and how they contribute to other failures in the robot. The resulting failure flow chart can also be used to analyze the resiliency of the robot in the presence of specific faults. By simulating robot failures and fault detection schemes, the problems involved in detecting failures for robots are explored in more depth. Future work will extend the analyses done in this paper to enhance Trick, a robotic simulation testbed, with fault tolerant capabilities in an expert system package.
Robotics; Hazardous environments; Fault Tolerance; Component failure