Design of a Distributed Control Architecture for the SAMURAI Deep Submergence Manipulator

TitleDesign of a Distributed Control Architecture for the SAMURAI Deep Submergence Manipulator
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsLimparis NM, Akin DL
Conference Name Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV), 2012 IEEE/OES
Date Published2012
Conference LocationSouthampton, UK

The design, development, and testing of a

distributed control architecture for a dexterous deep

submergence manipulator is described. Many

manipulators designed for the undersea environment use a

centralized control mechanism, be it a system of valves for

a hydraulic manipulator or a central electronics housing

for an electrical manipulator. Without the constraints of

deep submergence, many modern manipulator systems

have adopted distributed architectures to facilitate higher

bandwidths and greater modularity for maintenance and

reconfiguration. The Subsea Arctic Manipulator for

Underwater Retrieval and Autonomous Interventions

(SAMURAI) manipulator, developed under NASA and

NSF funding, uses a distributed network of Local

Processing Units (LPUs) that share the loading of the

control system for the manipulator and are co-located in

miniature surface-pressure housings at each of the

actuator sections. The design of this system is detailed,

showing the challenges of such a design, as well as the

advantages and limitations of this system as compared to a

centralized architecture. In addition, the paper also

describes a prototype development architecture for the

SAMURAI manipulator that uses commercial off the shelf

motion controllers and a commercial data bus in a similar

distributed architecture. This system provides reduced but

still powerful functionality as compared to the custom

architecture, with shorter development times and at

significantly lower costs.