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Impedance control of collaborative robots based on joint torque servo with active disturbance rejection

Tianyu Ren (Tsinghua University, Beijing, China)
Yunfei Dong (Tsinghua University, Beijing, China)
Dan Wu (Tsinghua University, Beijing, China)
Ken Chen (Tsinghua University, Beijing, China)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 7 December 2018

Issue publication date: 5 August 2019



The purpose of this paper is to present a simple yet effective force control scheme for collaborative robots by addressing the problem of disturbance rejection in joint torque: inherent actuator flexibility and nonlinear friction.


In this paper, a joint torque controller with an extended state observer is used to decouple the joint actuators from the multi-rigid-body system of a constrained robot and compensate the motor friction. Moreover, to realize robot force control, the authors embed this controller into the impedance control framework.


Results have been given in simulations and experiments in which the proposed joint torque controller with an extended state observer can effectively estimate and compensate the total disturbance. The overall control framework is analytically proved to be stable, and further it is validated in experiments with a robot testbed.

Practical implications

With the proposed robot force controller, the robot is able to change its stiffness in real time and therefore take variable tasks without any accessories, such as the RCC or 6-DOF F/T sensor. In addition, programing by demonstration can be realized easily within the proposed framework, which makes the robot accessible to unprofessional users.


The main contribution of the presented work is the design of a model-free robot force controller with the ability to reject torque disturbances from robot-actuator coupling effect and motor friction, applicable for both constrained and unconstrained environments. Simulation and experiment results from a 7-DOF robot are given to show the effectiveness and robustness of the proposed controller.



Ren, T., Dong, Y., Wu, D. and Chen, K. (2019), "Impedance control of collaborative robots based on joint torque servo with active disturbance rejection", Industrial Robot, Vol. 46 No. 4, pp. 518-528.



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