Standardization for intelligent detection and autonomous operation of non-structured hardware, and its application on railcar brake release operation
This thesis introduces a standard framework for evaluating and planning for desired autonomous (or semi-autonomous) operations, then applies the framework, in detail, to the task of automating emergency brake release before rail-car decoupling. A significant hurdle to be accounted for is the lack of standardization of much of the hardware of interest in industry. Non-standardized rail car components must be formally structured as fully as possible to improve the reliability of the robotic automation. This brake release task requires either pushing or pulling a “bleed rod” that protrudes from the side of each rail car. The requirements for each step of the evaluation and planning process will be laid out in this thesis, as an example of how it should be applied to future automation tasks.