Structures, Propulsion, And Control Engineering Center

Semi-Autonomous Mobile Robots for Cooperative Environmental Exploration

  • Research Area: Semi-Autonomous Mobile Robots for Cooperative Environmental Exploration 

    The research of the Semi-Autonomous Mobile Robots is aimed at developing a cooperative multi-agent robotic network for Earth-based and planetary environmental exploration missions. Primary features of the proposed robotic network mobile units include, but not limited to, remote sensing, communication relays, area mapping, and on-demand environment visualization. The research of autonomous navigation focuses on the hybrid path-finding algorithms, obstacle avoidance, sensor fusion, and customized communication protocols for the embedded systems. The tasks of the proposed work are described in the following subsections.


  • Research Activity: Autonomous-Navigation for Mobile Robots

  • Figure 1 shows the proposed system architecture of a semi-autonomous mobile robot unit. The mobile robot platform is to be equipped with a library of navigational algorithms, that could be applicable based on various mission specific objectives. The requirements set for this unit is to be operational in three modes: remote-controlled mode with Host PC Station being operated by the user, semi-autonomous mode - where certain control operations will be delegated by the user while remaining operations will be fully managed by the mobile unit itself, and the fully-autonomous mode - which will solely rely on platform's own processing and algorithmic capabilities.


  • Research Activity: Embedded Systems and Sensor Fusion for Mobile Robot Navigation

  • Figure 2 shows the proposed embedded hardware of a semi-autonomous mobile robot unit. Cypress Programmable System on a Chip (PSoC) serves as the microcontroller to support sensors, motor controllers, and communications for the robot platform. Multiple sensors inform the controlling computer of the current state of the mobile robot, and data is communicated wirelessly from the microcontroller (MCU) to a Host PC Station. The embedded system interface for the robot only handles data acquisition and data standardization, while all the control logic is handled by the Host PC Station.


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