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Design of a mobile robotic platform for research in group robotics

Memorial University of Newfoundland
Publication Date
  • Astronomy
  • Design


This thesis presents the design and development of the SAMBUCA (Semi Autonomous Mobile Base and Utile Control Architecture) mobile robot base for the purpose of advancement of research in group robotics. The base is intended to be used as part of a multi-robot system whereby a number of robotic vehicles, including ones derived from this design, will be deployed and coordinated to perform tasks semi-autonomously in order to reach a goal. -- Research in group robotics is being conducted at Memorial University of Newfoundland, in the Intelligent Systems laboratory of C-CORE, and the outcomes of these endeavors will be applied to industrial problems in harsh environments. The initial application of this research will be toward the mining industry, and specifically toward the automation of underground ore mines in Canada. Future applications include, but are not limited to, space exploration, toxic waste management, and automated farming. -- The work done to date in the Intelligent Systems laboratory has included the initial development of a vehicle route planner and a discrete-event based traffic controller that has been successfully interfaced with groups of robotic vehicles to carry out specified tasks in relatively structured, static environments. Currently, these systems break down goals into tasks that are coordinated and dispatched to toy robots that operate in a model mine. While the use of toys is sufficient for proof- of-concept demonstrations of the discrete-event control and planning systems, toys must be adapted and coerced to work under conditions that they were not intended to experience. These adaptation efforts are not central to the research goals, and not only demand unnecessary efforts from the research group, but indeed limit the progress that can be made in developing an automated system. -- While it is too early to incorporate the current research results into full-sized industrial robotic vehicles, specially designed small-scale robotic vehicles can be used in mock system trials instead of toy-based robots, thereby providing more accurate representations of the challenges encountered by full-sized robotic automation systems. -- This thesis presents the development of an indoor/outdoor mobile platform that will be used to advance the group's research in automated mining by providing a more realistic experience of tele-operation, remote sensing, and semi-autonomous robot behavior than what currently exists in the Intelligent System laboratory. -- The work completed to date acts as a starting point from which improvements and extensions can be easily made and incorporated. In this regard, suggestions for future work are also presented.

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