Objective - Enable manufacturers to quickly and easily put together robotic assembly systems with human-like capabilities using interoperable components, by delivering an analysis, information model, protocol, reference implementation, test methods, and tools.
What is the new technical idea? The new technical idea is to develop the information exchange methods and tools necessary to automate the composition and integration of complex robotic assembly systems. These methods include both the definition of information to be shared between the many parts of a complete robotic system, and the protcols used to share it. Information exchange takes place today for simple assembly systems, but lacks support for the advanced assembly operations that are needed to make breakthrough improvements in assembly time and cost. This new information spans high-speed, real-time sensor data through non-real time models of high-level assembly objectives. The information will be formally modeled and integrated within a standards-based framework that ties together robotic systems components for perception, mobility, and manipulation, includes their configuration and programming, and targets assembly operations not possible to automate today.
What is the research plan? The research plan begins with an assessment of the state of the art in technology for robotic assembly, including the information models that underlie current technology, either proprietary or standard. This assessment will inform the development of new information models and communication protocols necessary to support advanced assembly, and identify the relevant standards organizations through which these models and protcols can be published. Validation of the models and protocols will take place in testbed activities throughout the NIST facilities and with industrial partners. Software reference implementations will be developed and deployed throughout the projects that comprise the overall smart manufacturing robotics program portfolio. These reference implementations will drive the validation efforts, and also serve as a tangible output that will help accelerate commercial deployment. In the final phase of the project, software test methods derived from the reference implementations will ensure that commercial implementations of the associated standards fulfill user requirements for conformance and performance.