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Stability-Guaranteed Force-Sensorless Contact Force/Motion Control of Heavy-Duty Hydraulic Manipulators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)918-935
Number of pages18
JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


In this paper, a force-sensorless high-performance contact force/motion control approach is proposed for multiple-degree-of-freedom hydraulic manipulators. A rigorous stability proof for an entire hydraulic manipulator performing contact tasks is provided for the first time. The controller design for the manipulator is based on the recently introduced virtual decomposition control approach. As a significant novelty, the end-effector contact force is directly estimated from the manipulator's cylinder pressure data, which provides a practical solution for heavy-duty contact force control without engaging fragile force/torque sensors. In the experiments, the proposed controller achieved a force control accuracy of 4.1% at a desired contact force of 8000 N while in motion. This can be considered a significant result due to the hydraulic actuators' highly nonlinear behaviors, the coupled mechanical linkage dynamics, and the complex interaction dynamics between the manipulator and the environment.


  • Contact force estimation, contact force/motion control, hydraulic manipulators, nonlinear model-based control, stability analysis, virtual decomposition control (VDC)

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