A framework for end-user instruction of a robot assistant for manufacturing

Kelleher R. Guerin, Colin Lea, Chris Paxton, Gregory D. Hager

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Small Manufacturing Entities (SMEs) have not incorporated robotic automation as readily as large companies due to rapidly changing product lines, complex and dexterous tasks, and the high cost of start-up. While recent low-cost robots such as the Universal Robots UR5 and Rethink Robotics Baxter are more economical and feature improved programming interfaces, based on our discussions with manufacturers further incorporation of robots into the manufacturing work flow is limited by the ability of these systems to generalize across tasks and handle environmental variation. Our goal is to create a system designed for small manufacturers that contains a set of capabilities useful for a wide range of tasks, is both powerful and easy to use, allows for perceptually grounded actions, and is able to accumulate, abstract, and reuse plans that have been taught. We present an extension to Behavior Trees that allows for representing the system capabilities of a robot as a set of generalizable operations that are exposed to an end-user for creating task plans. We implement this framework in CoSTAR, the Collaborative System for Task Automation and Recognition, and demonstrate its effectiveness with two case studies. We first perform a complex tool-based object manipulation task in a laboratory setting. We then show the deployment of our system in an SME where we automate a machine tending task that was not possible with current off the shelf robots.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7140065
Pages (from-to)6167-6174
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
Issue numberJune
StatePublished - Jun 29 2015
Event2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2015 - Seattle, United States
Duration: May 26 2015May 30 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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