We consider the problem of real-time detection of collisions between a robot manipulator and obstacles of unknown geometry and location in the environment without the use of extra sensors. The idea is to handle a collision at a generic point along the robot as a fault of its actuating system. A previously developed dynamic FDI (fault detection and isolation) technique is used, which does not require acceleration or force measurements. The actual robot link that has collided can also be identified. Once contact has been detected, it is possible to switch to a suitably defined hybrid force/motion controller that enables to keep the contact, while sliding on the obstacle, and to regulate the interaction force. Simulation results are shown for a two-link planar robot.
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