Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Compact, Powerful, Easy-to-Use Robotics Platform for Use in Autonomous Mobile Robot Competitions
by Faber, Clayton, M.S., Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2016, 158; 10157512
Abstract (Summary)

Robotics is a fast growing field with a wide variety of applications. With the advent of new, compact, and cheap computing solutions, the user community and hobbyist markets are expanding rapidly. Robotic competitions are also becoming extremely popular among students in engineering programs across the country. Achieving reliable, accurate movement is one of the most challenging aspects of any robot, and most of the current platforms out on the market do not provide the level of performance or the necessary degree of flexibility that autonomous robot competitions at the university level demand.

Using a popular yet inexpensive single-board computer i.e. the Texas Instruments' BeagleBone Black, a custom circuit board (the SIUE Robot Cape), and Makeblock (mechanical parts), a small, easy-to-use, yet powerful robotics platform has been developed. The platform supports either four DC motors with quadrature wheel encoders or two stepper motors running open-loop. The ability to independently control four DC motors with encoder feedback affords the user the option of employing four omni-directional wheels in the design of the robot.

In addition to providing reliable movement, the SIUE (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville) Robot Cape, described herein, supports two I2C (Inter-Integrated Circuit) buses, a RTC (Real-Time Clock), a 16-channel servo motor controller, and a 9 DOF (Degree of Freedom) accelerometer. The system can be powered from standard RC car NiMH batteries. The overall system strikes the right balance between flexibility and ease-of-use. In the pursuit of this end, a graphical user interface was developed to allow users to quickly configure the system.

A very simple demonstration robot, using a pair of DC motors with optical wheel encoders, is described in the thesis. A cascaded PID (Proportional, Integral, Derivative) controller is employed. A PID loop (slave) for each motor controls wheel velocity while a third (master) loop drives the difference in wheel velocities to zero. The output of the master loop adjusts (differentially) the velocity setpoints of the left and right motors. When tested, the robot performed well on tests used to assess robot movement employing odometry.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Engel, George L.
Commitee: Noble, Brad, York, Timithoy
School: Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: MAI 56/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Electrical engineering, Robotics, Computer science
Keywords: Beaglebone, Motor control, Pid, Programmable real-time units
Publication Number: 10157512
ISBN: 978-1-369-12538-2
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