IEEE/ASME TRANSACTIONS ON MECHATRONICS, VOL. 18, NO.

4, AUGUST 2013

1431

Bilateral Teleoperation With Time-Varying Delay:
A Communication Channel Passification Approach
Yongqiang Ye, Ya-Jun Pan, and Trent Hilliard
Abstract—In this paper, the activeness of bilateral communication with
time-varying delay is analyzed. Based on the power-based time-domain
passivity control previously proposed, a time-domain passivity control approach is derived for bilateral communication. Teleoperation experimental
results verify the effectiveness.
Index Terms—Bilateral communication, teleoperation, time-domain
passivity control (TDPC).

Fig. 1.

Teleoperator with PTDPC.

A positive constant b is introduced to relate the different units of force
and velocity [10] and (1) can be written as follows:

I. INTRODUCTION

1 2
b 2
1
f (t) + vm
(t) − (fm c − bvm )2 (t)
2b m c
2
2b
b
1
1
+ fs2 (t) + vs2c (t) − (fs + bvs c )2 (t)
2b
2
2b
1
1
= fm2 c (t) − (fm c − bvm )2 (t)
b
2b
1
2
+ bvs c (t) − (fs + bvs c )2 (t)
2b
1
b 2
b
1
(t) − vs2c (t).
+ fs2 (t) − fm2 c (t) + vm
2b
2b
2
2

P =

Stability is always the first priority for teleoperation. The time delay, particularly time-varying delay, is a challenge for stability. Several
different solutions have been reported in the literature [1]. Latest teleoperation works addressing time-varying delay can be found in [2]–[5],
etc.
Remarkably, Hannaford and Ryu proposed the idea of time-domain
passivity control (TDPC) [6] and applied it to teleoperation with timevarying delay [7]. A passivity observer (PO) monitors the energy flow
into the system and when negative energy is observed, a time-varying
damping element called passivity controller (PC) is activated and dissipates the excessive energy. Since the PO monitors energy flow, the
approach is termed the energy-based TDPC (ETDPC). In [7], the communication is combined with the control software, termed as the bilateral controller, and ETDPC is applied to it. An alternative approach is
to apply ETDPC to the bilateral communication [8].
Recently, a simplified approach named power-based TDPC (PTDPC) has been proposed and applied to haptic interface control [9].
The note extends the application to teleoperation. For systems with
time-varying delay, if simple computation is required and transparency
is not important, one can choose this model-free architecture.

Using the transmissions, the last four items in (2) become
1
b 2
b
1 2
f (t) − fm2 c (t) + vm
(t) − vs2c (t)
2b s
2b
2
2
1
b 2
b 2
1 2
f (t) − fs2 (t − T2 ) + vm
(t) − vm
(t − T1 )
=
2b s
2b
2
2 
t
1 2
d
1
f (τ )dτ − T˙2 (t)fs2 (t − T2 (t))
=
dt t −T 2 2b s
2b 
t
b 2
b
d
2
v (τ )dτ − T˙1 (t)vm
(t − T1 (t))
+
dt t −T 1 2 m
2

II. TDPC FOR TELEOPERATION
In the bilateral communication, the forward velocity transmission is v s c (t) = vm (t − T1 ) and the backward force transmission is
f m c (t) = fs (t − T2 ), where T1 , 2 are the time delays (see Fig. 1).
The power flow equals the power entering from the master side
(vm (t)fm c (t)) minus the power exiting to the slave side (vs c (t)fs (t))
P = vm (t)fm c (t) − vs c (t)fs (t).

(3)

where T˙1 (t) and T˙2 (t) are the changing rates of T1 (t) and T2 (t),
respectively, and (2) becomes
P =

(1)

Manuscript received May 12, 2012; revised August 31, 2012, October 30,
2012, and December 16, 2012; accepted March 16, 2013. Date of publication
April 15, 2013; date of current version July 8, 2013. Recommended by Technical Editor B. Shirinzadeh. This work was supported by the Natural Sciences
and Engineering Research Council of Canada and Canada Foundation for Innovation. The work of Y. Ye was supported by the Natural Science Foundation
of Jiangsu Province under Grant BK2010507 and Grant BK2012383, and by
the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant 61074161 and
Grant 61034005.
Y. Ye is with the College of Automation Engineering, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing 210016, China (e-mail:
melvinye@nuaa.edu.cn).
Y.-J. Pan and T. Hilliard are with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada (e-mail: yajun.
pan@dal.ca).
Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available online
at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TMECH.2013.2255882

(2)

1 2
1
fm c (t) − (fm c − bvm )2 (t)
b
2b
1
2
+ bvs c (t) − (fs + bvs c )2 (t)
2b
b
1
2
(t − T1 (t))
− T˙2 (t)fs2 (t − T2 (t)) − T˙1 (t)vm
2b
2
dE
+
dt

where 

t

E=
t −T 2

1 2
f (τ )dτ +
2b s 

t
t −T 1

b 2
v (τ )dτ
2 m

(4)

(5)

can be viewed as stored energy.
Noting the passivity definition P = ddEt + Pd iss and the communication transmissions, the power dissipation of the bilateral communication is derived as
Pd iss =

1 2
1
1
f (t) − (fm c − bvm )2 (t) − T˙2 (t)fm2 c (t)
b mc
2b
2b
1
b
+bvs2c (t) − (fs + bvs c )2 (t) − T˙1 (t)vs2c (t).
2b
2

1083-4435/$31.00 © 2013 IEEE

(6)

the teleoperator is passive. 3(b). The most noticeable spikes of fm and fs are both 4. the slave is inherently passive.2 Value 1 -34. For clarity. simulation without PTDPC is also performed. a shaft encoder. The operator can even hardly grip the steering wheel. The forces across the communication channel fm and fs are shown in Fig.1 kg. 2(a). The slave and environment are virtual and rooted in a PC. steady contact is achieved. checking (7) and (8) in real time is straightforward. When contact happens. see Fig. see Fig. Note that in general [Fm c (s) + FP C (s)]/Vm (s) = Fs (s)/[Vs c (s) − VP C (s)]. 2b 2 III. The slave is virtually constructed in the PC as a mass of 0. Similar to the wave impedance in [10]. fs is the slave driving force generated by the PD controller.5s Salve mass m Ratio b Value 0. where the radius of the steering wheel is 16. One can impose a positive upper bound of T˙1 . The environment force fe is recorded in Fig. but also trades off transparency for passivity. a brushless DC motor. NO. Since the slave is controlled by a PD controller with PD gains K and B.2 Value 0. 2 . With the help of PTDPC. indicating that the contact happens at 2. The design of b adopts the principal of impedance matching. The motor is powered by a BMC12L brushless servo drive. In consideration of the signal flow directions in the communication channel. Two PCs attached at each port are activated when Pomb sv or Posb sv are < 0 so that Pomb sv + Pcmtr = 0 or Posb sv + Pcstr = 0 where Pcmtr or Pcstr is the power dissipation by the PCs. The master position is defined as the rotational distance of one point on the steering wheel.5Ns/m Slave P gain K Slave D gain B Value 370N/m 2. While with PCs. zero division must be avoided to prevent computation collapse. where the first force spike at the contact point is 20 N and the following forces decay within 2 s. a motor drive. the master side impedance is changed to [Fm c (s) + FP C (s)]/Vm (s) and the slave side impedance is Fs (s)/[Vs c (s) − VP C (s)]. if ≥ 2.2 min T1.0. The simulation again confirm the instability. The fluctuation of the slave position after the hard contact point is trivial. 4. The discrepancy between fm and fs after the contact point is insignificant.1kg 2. .e. To bypass the real-time checking difficulty. The shaft position is read with a 5000-line count shaft encoder. 3(c) and (d) shows the PCs’ output fP C (with largest one −2 N) and vP C (with largest one −2.5Ns/m max positive max negative d T dt 1. the position/velocity signals at the master side and the force signals at the slave side are shifted backward by the time delays so that the signals at both sides can be viewed synchronously. The time delays vary as 0. The price paid is the increased conservativeness as in [7]. the PC at the master side is of impedance causality and the PC at the slave side is of admittance causality.7. 18. 2(b). One can tune b as best suited to the current task. 2 (t). The master and slave are represented by effective endpoint masses of m.1432 IEEE/ASME TRANSACTIONS ON MECHATRONICS. but the changing rate of the delays is upperbounded by 1. 2b 2 Pomb sv = Posb sv (9) (10) Interestingly. 2 (t) improves passiveness and additional energy is produced by the increasing delays. Fig. The master arm is manipulated directly by an operator who exerts force fh . fe is the environment force. the model of the human operator in [13] is adopted where the human operator is modeled as a PD-type position tracking controller with its spring and damper gains as 75 N/m and 50 Ns/m. Checking (6) in real time is not feasible because (6) involves signals from both ports of the communication channel.2 Nm. as in [11] and two POs are constructed at each side 1 2 1 f (t) − (fm c − bvm )2 (t) − fm2 c (t) b mc 2b 2b 1 b = bvs2c (t) − (fs + bvs c )2 (t) − vs2c (t).6 N. which are not available at the same time instant due to delay. 3(e). In real applications.2 d T dt 1. Note that negative T˙1 . Remark 1: The coefficient b is used for relating forces and velocities. 3(f) shows the time delays T1 . Fig. This scheme not only increases conservativeness. The force perceived by the operator is fm (t) = fs (t − T2 ) + fP C (t) where fP C is the output of the master side PC. and the input signal is provided by a Quanser Q8 data acquisition card mounted in the PC. The parameters used in the experiments are shown in Table I. Fig. respectively. 1 1 1 2 f (t) − (fm c − bvm )2 (t) − T˙2 (t)fm2 c (t) b mc 2b 2b 1 b bvs2c (t) − (fs + bvs c )2 (t) − T˙1 (t)vs2c (t).2 m/s). 3(a). the master side An in-house constructed interface system is used in the experiment. as shown in Fig.2 Pd iss ≥ 0 indicates passiveness and no PC action is needed. Thus.9 cm. AUGUST 2013 TABLE I PARAMETERS AND GAINS USED IN EXPERIMENTS max T1. checking (6) is separated into the checking of following two terms sufficiently: impedance is Fm c (s)/Vm (s) (uppercase letters represent the Laplace transform of their lowercase letters) and the slave side impedance is Fs (s)/Vs c (s) with ideal transparency. The sampling rate is 1 kHz. The operator turns the steering wheel so that the slave is driven to contact with a virtual hard wall with stiffness K=30 kN/m located at x = 0. 1.. The master is the steering wheel.-32. Another design guideline is the principal of impedance matching in wave-variable-based teleoperation.8 s. as in [12]. The haptic feedback force on the steering wheel is produced through a direct coupling to an MCG IB34005 brushless DC motor with a peak torque of 5. The PTDPC makes the communication passive and if the environment is passive. EXPERIMENTAL VERIFICATION (7) (8) Because (7) contains only the signals at the master side and (8) contains only the signal at the slave side. both vanish after the fifth second. the system exhibits strong oscillations without PTDPC. Pomb sv and Posb sv are both nonpositive.1. and a steering wheel. The system is composed of a Quanser Q8 terminal board. The velocity command of the slave is vsn (t) = vm (t − T1 ) − vP C (t) where vP C is the output of the slave side PC. The actual velocity of the slave is vs . . VOL.5 + rand s where rand indicates a uniform random number between 0 and 0. the transparency is degraded by the output of PCs. b equals the D gain of the slave PD controller. b presents a parameter which can tune the intensity of damping. and it returns force feedback fs of the slave to the master. 1 shows a teleoperator with PTDPC. i.5369s.6 m. If there is no PC. The communication channel transmits the velocity of the master vm for the slave to follow. In the simulation. The master and slave positions are shown in Fig. To verified the oscillation behavior without TDPC.542s 0.

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