Model-based approaches can be used to confront several of the challenging performance issues in teleoperation. This paper describes a model-based supervisory control technique for telerobotics. A human-machine interface (HMI) was developed for online, interactive task segmentation and planning utilizing a world model of the telerobotic working environment (TRWE). The task model is transferred intermittently over a low bandwidth communication channel for interpretation, planning, and execution of the task segments through the autonomous control capabilities of a telerobot. For the purposes of outlining tasks, a human operator controls a simulation model to generate a “task sequence script” as a sequential list of desired sub-goals for a telerobot. A graphic user interface (GUI) facilitates the development of the task sequence script with viewing perspectives of the graphic display automatically selected as a function of the operational state and model parameters. Also, because the human operator is specifying discrete model set-points of the TRWE, and allowing the autonomous control capabilities of the telerobot to coordinate the actual trajectory between set-points, a provision is made to preview the proposed trajectory for approval or modification before execution. Preliminary results with a manipulator arm remotely controlled via the Internet demonstrate the utility of the model-based supervisory control technique.

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