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Control Systems for Mobile Robots

91.350.202 (undergrad) and 91.580.205 (grad)

Spring 2009

Prof. Fred Martin
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Monday, 2:30p – 4:50p Olsen 402

This course will focus understanding and implementing control architectures for mobile robots that operate autonomously to accomplish specific tasks. The class will combine theory and practice, including the study of successful robot architectures and our own implementations.

We will use Player/Stage/Gazebo, an open-source robot simulation package and driver system. This will allow us to develop control programs for simulated robots, including the ability to process robot-centric camera views and laser ranger data. You will develop a control program for a simulated robot in a simulated world, and then be able to seamlessly run that control program on our actual robot running in the real world. The use of the simulation tools are essential, given the amount of work involved in creating successful control programs and the relatively low availability of live robot time in the field.

Robot control tasks will be driven by the two main challenges of the annual Intelligent Ground Vehicles Competition: the navigation challenge, which involves visiting waypoints in a 1-acre field given GPS data and the presence of barrels, sawhorses, and other physical obstacles, and the autonomous challenge, which requires the robot to stay inside a pair of painted lines in a one-tenth mile outdoor course. See www.igvc.org for more details.

This year's IGVC competition will be held June 5–8, 2009. All students who participate in the CSMR course will be invited to make the road trip to Oakland, Michigan (just north of Detroit) to enter the contest. Funding to support the trip will be available.

We will use the following book:

Artificial Intelligence and Mobile Robots: Case Studies of Successful Robot Systems,
D. Kortenkamp, R. Peter Bonasso, R. Murphy (eds).

This book is published by MIT Press, but inexpensive used copies are available on Amazon. Please order a used copy from Amazon right away; as of this writing, they are available for as little as $7 (plus shipping).

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