Modular Autonomous Robot Platform

1666 Modular Autonomous Robot Platform

Predicted Finishing Date : 15 April 2016

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1. Project Background :
The production of useful robotics devices such as as a roomba or automatic lawnmower relies on being able to take in many sensors as input devices and control various output devices, while at the same time make many computations to effect the desired result.  One way to do this as efficiently as possible is to separate the duties of each type of task to different processing devices.  For example, the reading of control and interpretation of ultrasonic signals is accomplished by one microcontroller while the sensing of the wheel rotation and control of the motors is done by another.  Still, there is a need coordinate and communicate among these microcontrollers.  That is the job of the supervisor module (controller).  The supervisor module will need to be of sufficient power to perform the desired tasks (i.e. path planning, obstacle avoidance, error correction, object manipulation, etc.).  The key to this success is a sound communication protocol that permits the supervisor module to properly gather data from input devices as well as reliably controlling the output devices.  The aim of this project is to develop the supervisor module, a communication protocol, and the input and output devices needed for an experimental Modular Autonomous Robot Platform.  The platform will be used to test various theories, and performs multiple experiments as new sensors and actuators are added.  The information gathered will be used as a basis for the production of an intelligent, robust lawn mowing autonomous robot.
2. Project Content:

The supervisor module will be the heart of the platform.  This module will be the LeMaker Guitar.


The first step will be to develop two modules: ultrasonic sensor and motor control.  One Arduino microcontrollers will be used to read and control ultrasonic sensors. Another Arduino microcontroller will be used to control the motors on a robotic platform.  The I2C communication protocol will be the hardware communication channel between the modules. 

The second step will be to develop the microcontroller communication protocol on top of the I2C that will allow us to properly interpret the data as well as control the devices.


The third step is to design an algorithm to do something simple such as read an ultrasonic sensor to determine the distance from an object and move the robot toward the object.  

3. Project Schedule :

Jan 15 - Feb 15:

  • Become familiar with LeMaker Guitar
  • Develop the ultrasonic and motor control modules

Feb 16 - Mar 15:

  • Develop Ultrasonic module algorithms for its Arduino microcontroller
  • Develop Motor Control algorithms for its Arduino microcontroller
  • Develop communication protocol and test

Mar 16 - Apr 15:

  • Develop Supervisor module algorithm for a simple task (To be better defined).
  • Integrate algorithm into the robot and test. 

Apr 15 - Project complete.

4. Project Advantages:

Robotics is a young field with many obstacles to overcome.  Knowledge gained by having this type of platform as a learning experience can lead to many marketable solutions.  This platform is intended to be an educational tool exploring the field. 

The advantages of this project are that it provides the knowledge to build a platform for anyone to explore the robotics field.  It is not intended as a single application.  Anyone can add new devices to explore other areas of robotics.  These areas include, but are not limited to, learning to:

  • Control different devices (i.e., motors, actuators, arms, legs, etc).
  • Read in different types of sensors such as (infrared, gps, radar, video, etc.)
  • Develop and test new algorithms that integrate input and output devices to perform new tasks.
  • Test out new theories for obstacle avoidance, efficient navigation, robotic vision, and many others.