This research focuses on improved control for force-reflecting teleoperation systems in free motion and contact tasks. Specifically, the Naturally Transitioning Rate-to-Force Controller (NTRFC) is implemented in an Air Force experimental force-reflecting teleoperation system to achieve a unified controller with no mode switches from free motion to contact, and to reduce the wrench exerted on the environment by the slave manipulator during remote teleoperation tasks. In an effectiveness evaluation experiment, the experimental hypothesis is validated: the NTRFC with force reflection performs the best amongst four teleoperation control modes with respect to minimal wrench exertion on the environment. A negligible difference was found in total task-completion times amongst the four modes. The NTRFC with force reflection has the potential to improve task performance in remote, hazardous, teleoperation tasks in which minimal exerted wrench is desirable.

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