An Experimental Mobile Robot Platform for Autonomous Systems Research and Education

L.C. McNinch, R.A. Soltan, K.R. Muske, H. Ashrafiuon, and J.C. Peyton Jones (USA)


Mobile Robot, Trajectory Planning , Coordinated Control 1 ntroduction This paper describes and evaluates the experiences gained implementing a trajectory planning and real-time obsta cle avoidance algorithm on a dual-use autonomous mobile robot platform for autonomous systems research and ed ucation. The intent is to use this experience as part of a larger program aimed at developing the next generation of low-cost, high-capability mobile robotics platforms. The desired features of such


A mobile robot platform for autonomous systems research and education is described in this paper. The platform is based on the Lego Mindstorms NXT controller and its use in a realistic research application is assessed. The relatively low cost and high performance of this device provides an effective mobile computing platform that can be used to implement advanced autonomous system applications directly on the target hardware. In this work, a novel trajectory tracking and coordinated control application is developed in the MATLAB/Simulink programming environment and downloaded onto the NXT target using rapid prototyping tools. This application reveals the capabilities and some of the limitations of the NXT as a mobile robot platform for autonomous systems research. An extension of this platform to overcome these limitations, based on interfacing the more computationally powerful Nokia N800 internet tablet to the NXT for additional computing and communication capability, is then discussed.

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