Workshop on
"From human-robot interaction to collaborative control: a human centered perspective"

Dr Alessandro DE LUCA,
Full Professor, Sapienza Universita di Roma

DIAG (Dipartimento di Ingegneria informatica, automatica) Robotics Laboratory
Sapienza Universita di Roma
00185 Roma, Italy

Homepage: HERE

Talk title:
Control of physical human-robot interaction for safe collaborative tasks

I will survey the pHRI research performed in the last few years at Sapienza University of Rome, ranging from on-line collision avoidance to collision detection, isolation and reaction, up to the safe handling of intentional contacts for collaborative applications. The solutions have been obtained within a hierarchical control architecture that generates consistent robot behaviors, organized in three layers for safety, coexistence, and active collaboration. Safety requires reliable detection of physical contacts that may occur anywhere on the robot body, preferably using only proprioceptive sensing (model-based residuals or motor currents), with a fast robot reaction to the event. Human-robot coexistence needs workspace monitoring and efficient collision avoidance schemes, driven by exteroceptive sensors (e.g., RGB-D sensors). When an active physical collaboration is engaged between the human and a robot, the exchanged forces and the common motion at the contact should be estimated, possibly without using tactile or force sensors, and then regulated in a task-oriented way for the specific application. I will illustrate the performance of the developed basic control methods on lightweight manipulators (a KUKA LWR4 and a Universal Robots UR10) and on two industrial robots (a medium-size KUKA KR5 Sixx and an ABB IRB1600).

Alessandro De Luca is Professor of Robotics and Automation at DIAG, Sapienza University of Rome. He has been the first Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics (2004-08), RAS Vice-President for Publication Activities in 2012-13, General Chair of ICRA 2007, and Program Chair of ICRA 2016. He received three conference awards (Best paper at ICRA 1998 and BioRob 2012, Best application paper at IROS 2008), the Helmholtz Humboldt Research Award in 2005, the IEEE-RAS Distinguished Service Award in 2009, and the IEEE George Saridis Leadership Award in Robotics and Automation in 2019. He is an IEEE Fellow, class of 2007. His research interests cover modeling, motion planning, and control of robotic systems (flexible manipulators, kinematically redundant arms, underactuated robots, wheeled mobile robots), as well as physical human-robot interaction. He was the scientific coordinator of the FP7 project SAPHARI – Safe and Autonomous Physical Human-Aware Robot Interaction (2011-15) and the founding director of the Sapienza Master in Control Engineering. More info at

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