Probabilistic Surface Friction Estimation Based on Visual and Haptic Measurements

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Accurately modeling local surface properties of objects is crucial to many robotic applications, from grasping to material recognition. Surface properties like friction are however difficult to estimate, as visual observation of the object does not convey enough information over these properties. In contrast, haptic exploration is time consuming as it only provides information relevant to the explored parts of the object. In this letter, we propose a joint visuo-haptic object model that enables the estimation of surface friction coefficient over an entire object by exploiting the correlation of visual and haptic information, together with a limited haptic exploration by a robotic arm. We demonstrate the validity of the proposed method by showing its ability to estimate varying friction coefficients on a range of real multi-material objects. Furthermore, we illustrate how the estimated friction coefficients can improve grasping success rate by guiding a grasp planner toward high friction areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9364673
Pages (from-to)2838-2845
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Friction estimation
  • Probabilistic model
  • Haptic feedback
  • Grasping
  • Robotics


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