Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Experimental Merlin robot testbed for experiments with heterogeneous teams

AGV - Teleoperated Mobile Robot:
The mobile micro-robot MERLIN (Mobile Experimental Robots for Locomotion and Intelligent Navigation) was designed and realized for a broad spectrum of indoor and outdoor tasks on basis of standardized functional modules like sensors, actuators, communication and locomotion. With the on-board sensors MERLIN was capable to perform obstacle detection, modelling of the environment and position estimation and navigation in a global co-ordinate system. The algorithms for sensor pre- and post-processing as well as the control algorithms, necessary for path planning and obstacle avoidance were implemented on a micro-controller 80C167. The sensors were needed to characterize the remote mobile robot by its position and status, as well as to characterize its operational environment in order to provide information about inaccessible and dangerous areas for humans.

The tele-diagnosis infrastructure was addressed, allowing a remote tele-operations centre to receive the crucial sensor data, to submit control commands and to establish a robust link by the software implementation for this generic tele-diagnosis approach. In particular the integration of the rover with the sensors into this infrastructure was addressed. A survey on sensors for tele-diagnosis applications such as PMD camera was investigated. The architecture of a distributed tele-diagnosis solution that will not only monitor these sensor data streams, but also troubleshoot and diagnose subsystem failures automatically was analysed. The experience in telematic based on several sensors on board was researched.

The approaches for tele-operation of the mobile robot MERLIN by telematic methods were implemented those are haptic interface joystick control and path following with obstacle avoidance. The communication was possible for both via radio link and via wireless LAN. The architecture of software interfaces; Merlin Client and Merlin Server were programmed by java language. Effects related to delays in the signal transfer were investigated. PC104 and 80C167 microcontroller were selected to be a solution for a fast high performance computation during robot navigation and fast real time interrupt response for actuator control, and sensor data diagnosis, and client-server communication via TCP/IP protocol. The sensors selected for on board using were ultrasonic sensor, infrared sensor, gyroscope, hall sensors (odometer), bumper, 3D compass, laser scanner (range finder), Photonic Mixer Device (PMD) 3D vision camera. As an alternative for search and rescue mission, the tracked mobile robot was also designed and produced for rough terrain outdoor navigation with the tank and chain wheel structure. The autonomous obstacle collision avoidance was also implemented using ultrasonic, infrared sensor, PMD camera. For trajectory following, the trajectory planning, wall following, and maneuvering were developed. The localization techniques implemented based on Kalman filter. Many tests and development steps of sensors for accuracy and reliability and stability including time delay analysis of teleoperated control were performed.

The sensors selected for on board using were ultrasonic sensor, infrared sensor, gyroscope, hall sensors (odometer)¿.

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