SUBJECT: Ph.D. Dissertation Defense
BY: Ehsan Maleki
TIME: Monday, October 7, 2013, 3:00 p.m.
PLACE: MARC Building, 114
TITLE: Control of Human-Operated Machinery with Flexible Dynamics
COMMITTEE: Dr. William Singhose, Chair (ME)
Dr. Michael Leamy (ME)
Dr. Jun Ueda (ME)
Dr. Dewey Hodges (AE)
Dr. William Miller (GTRI)
Dr. Khalid Sorensen (CAMotion, Inc.)


Heavy-lifting machines such as cranes are widely used at ports, construction sites, and manufacturing plants in a variety of material-transporting applications. However, cranes possess inherent flexible dynamics that make fast and precise operation challenging. Most cranes are driven by human operators, which adds another element of complexity. The goal of this thesis is to develop controllers that allow human operators to easily and efficiently control machines with flexible dynamics. To improve the ease of human operation of these machines, various control structures are developed and their effectiveness in aiding the operator are evaluated. Cranes are commonly used to swing wrecking balls that demolish unwanted structures. To aid the operator in such tasks, swing-amplifying controllers are designed and their performance are evaluated through simulations and experiments with real operators. To make maneuvering of these machines in material-transporting operations easier, input-shaping control is used to reduce oscillation induced by operator commands. In the presence of external disturbances, input shaping is combined with a low-authority feedback controller to eliminate unwanted oscillations, while maintaining the human operator as the primary controller of the machine. The performance and robustness of the proposed controllers are thoroughly examined via numerical simulations and a series of experiments and operator studies on a small-scale mobile boom crane and a two-ton dual-hoist bridge crane.