On line tracking of moving objects from moving platforms
It is desired to position the end point of a conveyor belt, which carries material removed by a moving pavement trimmer, above the bed of a moving dump truck. The present report describes the analytical design and practical control of a tracking system for positioning the conveyor. Initial tests were conducted on a Unimation PUMA robot. The original pavement profiler has been modified to allow automatic computer control of both the soil removal and distribution systems. The distribution is performed by a two degrees of freedom moveable boom with a conveyor system. Two methods for non-contact target position detection were evaluated: machine vision and ultrasound. An ultrasound based target system was selected and implemented on a PUMA robot. Control software for on-line target acquisition and tracking was developed and tested. A set of ultrasound sensors and a boom rotation sensor were installed on the pavement profiler. All sensors are currently operational.