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Control Systems Design Course with a Focus for Applications in Mobile Robotics

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Poster Session

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.338.1 - 23.338.13



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Paper Authors


Rocio Alba-Flores Georgia Southern University

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Rocio Alba-Flores received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Tulane University. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Georgia Southern University. Her main areas of interest include control systems, robotics, digital systems, microprocessors, and signal and image processing.

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Fernando Rios-Gutierrez Georgia Southern University

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Fernando Rios-Gutierrez was born in Mexico City, Mexico. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Communications from the National Polytechnic Institute, Mexico City, in 1978. He was awarded a full scholarship to pursue graduate studies at the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Department of Tulane University, New Orleans LA, where he obtained a M.S. degree and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1998 and 2000 respectively. From 2002 -2007 he was an Assistant Professor at the Electrical and Computer Engineering department of the University of Minnesota Duluth. Since September 2007 he has been an Assistant Professor at the Electrical Engineering department at Georgia Southern University. His main research interests include robotics, remote sensing, learning techniques for robots, digital systems, and microprocessor applications.

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Control Systems Design Course with a Focus in the Application for Mobile Robotics AbstractThe number of control systems used in robotics, industrial automation, and other electronicsystems continues to increase dramatically. Automatic systems typically include subsystems withindependent processors or controllers. The controllers must communicate to coordinate theiractivities. For example, a typical autonomous navigation system (mobile robot) consists of aninterconnected collection of small controllers linked to a master controller. As the roboticsystems become more complex, they require of different types of control systems to beimplemented and the need for teamwork becomes critical.This work describes the educational experience gained during the offering of the "ControlSystem Design", a fourth year course in the undergraduate Electrical Engineering program at ourUniversity. The main focus in this course is concentrated on team-based projects, in whichstudents learn control system design using mobile robots as a practical media for the applicationof control systems. In the theoretical aspect of the course, students learn the design andsimulation of traditional PID control systems, as well as modern intelligent control systemsbased on Artificial Intelligence techniques that include neural networks and fuzzy logic basedsystems.Using mobile robot platforms, that are already available in our department from other courses,students implement the traditional PID and modern intelligent controllers using FieldProgrammable Gate Array (FPGA) cards which allow rapid prototyping, debugging andimplementation. Using the implemented controllers and the robotic bases, students can comparetheir performance in actual navigation situations, and can make changes or improvements to theircontrollers in a very efficient way when they are applied to the robotic platforms.The reasons to use mobile robots as the main media for the design and application of controlsystems is that students like to see how the theoretical knowledge of what they learn in class canbe used in an actual application. One of the major goals of this course is to expose students toconceptual understanding and concrete implementations trough the design and implementation ofa controller for autonomous robotic navigation. A second goal is to expose student to team workexperience, were each student is responsible for a specific part of the project. For the team-basedprojects the class is divided in teams of 2 or 3 students, and each team is assigned a different typeof controller for autonomous navigation. Each team designs, simulates, and implements theassigned controller. The designs and simulations are performed using Matlab, and embeddedsystems (Altera DE2-70 FPGA cards) are used for their implementation.At the end of the semester each team demonstrate the performance of their designed controller.The demonstrations are very didactic for the students because they can appreciate in a real worldapplication the performance of the different controllers, also the competitive aspect of thedemonstration makes the students more interested in improving their design and try to be the bestin the class. The final paper describes in more detail the different controllers that were designedand implemented by the students. Results and course assessment are also included.

Alba-Flores, R., & Rios-Gutierrez, F. (2013, June), Control Systems Design Course with a Focus for Applications in Mobile Robotics Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19352

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