The joint laboratory will focus on three main areas that represent current challenges and have the highest potential impact on the manufacturing industry. These are:

Compliant motion control of robotic system – to achieve accuracy in both motion of, and forces exerted by, robotic systems at the same time. The robotic systems include manipulators on a fixed base, mobile vehicles, and mobile manipulators. Achieving this not only improves the productivity and efficiency of current manufacturing system but also opens up new applications of robotics in manufacturing, especially in unstructured and human environments.

Task planning and robot programming – to bridge the gap between fundamental compliant motion capabilities and task execution. Robotics plays a central role in improving task execution. However, programming the robot is a very tedious process involving case-by-case application and hand-coding of robot programs. The research aims at achieving a generic framework for task execution and robot programming to allow for rapid and easy development of robot programs. This area includes the use of multi-sensor fusion to aid the teaching and programming of robots for workpieces with uncertain/varying geometry.

Mechanism design – to enhance existing robotic performance, innovative mechanism design is essential. Based on analytically optimized model, these mechanisms are designed to achieve better performance with minimum effort and control. This area will employ newer actuation/sensors and lighter material to realize a dynamically optimized mechatronic system.