June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Electrical and Computer
11.934.1 - 11.934.13
Mobile Robots Capstone Design Course
This work describes the educational experience gained during the "Design Workshop", a fourth year course in the undergraduate Electrical and Computer Engineering program at our University. The main topic of this course is concentrated on a team-based, semester-long project in which students design and build mobile robots for different applications.
1. Introduction The number of electronic systems used in robotics, industrial automation, and other control systems continues to increase dramatically. These systems typically include subsystems with separate processors or controllers. The processors must communicate to coordinate their activities. For example, a typical autonomous navigation system (mobile robot) consists of an interconnected collection of processors connected to a real-time controller. As these systems become even more complex, the need for teamwork becomes even more critical.
A mobile robot is a system that contains mechanical and electronic parts that can be programmed to perform some specific functions, responding to sensory inputs under the control of an internal or external computer. The reasons to use mobile robots as the main topic for the Design Workshop is that in addition to involving the electrical and mechanical engineering disciplines, robotics deals with other sciences and humanities subjects, such as animal and human behavior imitation, learning techniques, and environment interactions. Robotic systems can relate to most processes in nature and human behavior. Because of this, their potential as educational tools for teaching and learning various subjects in technology and sciences is unlimited 1.
The design and implementation of an autonomous navigation vehicle requires a broad knowledge in areas traditionally not covered in a single discipline. These areas include electrical and computer engineering, computing sciences, mechanical engineering, and other engineering disciplines. As a result, it is very difficult to train students and engineers within a single discipline to effectively design and implement complex mobile robots. Thus, we felt that it was important to offer a senior design workshop to establish an interdisciplinary framework to teach the basics and offer a structured course for education in mobile robot design. One of the major goals of this new class is to expose students to industrial and commercial quality design, and bridge the gap between conceptual understanding and concrete implementations. After undergraduate students are able to apply abstract knowledge in concrete implementations, subsequent higher-level, theory-oriented courses have more relevance.
In this paper the authors present their experiences in using robotics in a one-semester capstone senior design workshop, with focus in interdisciplinary interactions and teamwork for the design and implementation of an autonomous mobile robot that is able to participate in the International Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC) 2.
The paper provides motivations and background information, describes the senior design workshop organization and the autonomous vehicle characteristics, the paper concludes with a summary and recommendations for future work.
Alba-Flores, R., & Rios-Gutierrez, F. (2006, June), Mobile Robots Capstone Design Course Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--356
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