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CASE STUDIES IN MECHATRONIC SYSTEMS:
Autonomous Mobile Robot:
A fully autonomous mobile robot has the ability to:
Gain information about the environment
Work for an extended period without human intervention
Move either all or part of itself throughout its operating environment without human assistance
Avoid situations that are harmful to people, property, or itself unless those are part of its design specifications.
Elements of Autonomous Mobile Robot:
Locomotion is the act of moving from place to place.
Locomotion relies on the physical interaction between the vehicle and its environment.
It is concerned with the interaction forces, along with the mechanisms and actuators that generate them.
The different types of locomotion are:
The robots have to sense their environment in order to navigate in it, detect hazards, and identify goals.
Sensor fusion is an important capability, as no single sensor will be able to identify or classify all aspects of the arenas.
The simulated victims are represented by a collection of different sensory signatures. They have shape and colour characteristics.
Some simulated victims have motions such as waving, and some emit sounds such as low moans, calls for help, or simple tapping.
All of the signals of life should be detected, identified, investigated further, and if confirmed as a victim, the location should be mapped.
For obstacle detection, the sensors need to see far and only a logic response is required.
Common sensors used in mobile robots for detecting obstacles are the digital infra-red (IR) sensor.
Line tracing is normally required to distinguish between a white surface and a black one in order to provide guidance by the demarcation.
For direction monitoring the obvious sensor to use is a compass, which echoes the bearing of the mobile robot in real time.
Proximity sensors are used to sense the presence of an object close to a mechatronics device.
In the mobile robot applications, the robots are expected to communicate to humans the location of victims and hazards.
They would be providing a map of the environment they have explored, with the simulated victim and hazard location clearly identified.
The environment that the robots operate in is three-dimensions, hence they should be able to map in three-dimensions.
The area may change dynamically during operation time
The planning or behaviour generation elements of the robots build on the knowledge representation and the sensing elements.
The robots must be able to navigate around obstacles, make progress in their mission take into account time as a limiting resource, and make time critical decisions.
The planner should make use of an internal map generated by the robot and find alternative routes to exit the arenas that may be quicker or avoid arm that have become
no longer traversable
The robots are designed to operate with humans.
The level of interaction may vary significantly, depending on the robot's design and capabilities, or on the circumstances.
Robots may communicate back to humans to request decisions, but should provide the human with meaningful communication of the situation.
The human should provide the robot with high level commands, such as "go to the room on the left" rather that joystick the robot in that direction.
The final element to be evaluated in the robot's overall capabilities is collaboration among teams of robots.
Multiple robots, either homogeneous or heterogeneous in design and capabilities, should be able to more quickly explore the area.
The issues to be examined are how effectively they maximize coverage given multiple robots, whether redundancy is an advantage, and whether or how they communicate among themselves to assign responsibilities.
The human may make the decisions about assignments for each robot a priority, but that would not be as desirable as seeing the robots jointly decide how to attack the problem when confronted in the field.
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