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Smooth path planning using splines for unmanned planetary vehicles

Description

One of the main challenges in planetary robotics is to traverse the shortest path through a set of waypoints. The shortest distance between any two waypoints is a direct linear traversal. Often times, there are physical restrictions that prevent a

One of the main challenges in planetary robotics is to traverse the shortest path through a set of waypoints. The shortest distance between any two waypoints is a direct linear traversal. Often times, there are physical restrictions that prevent a rover form traversing straight to a waypoint. Thus, knowledge of the terrain is needed prior to traversal. The Digital Terrain Model (DTM) provides information about the terrain along with waypoints for the rover to traverse. However, traversing a set of waypoints linearly is burdensome, as the rovers would constantly need to modify their orientation as they successively approach waypoints. Although there are various solutions to this problem, this research paper proposes the smooth traversability of the rover using splines as a quick and easy implementation to traverse a set of waypoints. In addition, a rover was used to compare the smoothness of the linear traversal along with the spline interpolations. The data collected illustrated that spline traversals had a less rate of change in the velocity over time, indicating that the rover performed smoother than with linear paths.

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2013

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Model-based design, simulation and automatic code generation for embedded systems and robotic applications

Description

As the complexity of robotic systems and applications grows rapidly, development of high-performance, easy to use, and fully integrated development environments for those systems is inevitable. Model-Based Design (MBD) of dynamic systems using engineering software such as Simulink® from MathWorks®,

As the complexity of robotic systems and applications grows rapidly, development of high-performance, easy to use, and fully integrated development environments for those systems is inevitable. Model-Based Design (MBD) of dynamic systems using engineering software such as Simulink® from MathWorks®, SciCos from Metalau team and SystemModeler® from Wolfram® is quite popular nowadays. They provide tools for modeling, simulation, verification and in some cases automatic code generation for desktop applications, embedded systems and robots. For real-world implementation of models on the actual hardware, those models should be converted into compilable machine code either manually or automatically. Due to the complexity of robotic systems, manual code translation from model to code is not a feasible optimal solution so we need to move towards automated code generation for such systems. MathWorks® offers code generation facilities called Coder® products for this purpose. However in order to fully exploit the power of model-based design and code generation tools for robotic applications, we need to enhance those software systems by adding and modifying toolboxes, files and other artifacts as well as developing guidelines and procedures. In this thesis, an effort has been made to propose a guideline as well as a Simulink® library, StateFlow® interface API and a C/C++ interface API to complete this toolchain for NAO humanoid robots. Thus the model of the hierarchical control architecture can be easily and properly converted to code and built for implementation.

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2013

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Moving obstacle avoidance for unmanned aerial vehicles

Description

There has been a vast increase in applications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in civilian domains. To operate in the civilian airspace, a UAV must be able to sense and avoid both static and moving obstacles for flight safety. While

There has been a vast increase in applications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in civilian domains. To operate in the civilian airspace, a UAV must be able to sense and avoid both static and moving obstacles for flight safety. While indoor and low-altitude environments are mainly occupied by static obstacles, risks in space of higher altitude primarily come from moving obstacles such as other aircraft or flying vehicles in the airspace. Therefore, the ability to avoid moving obstacles becomes a necessity

for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

Towards enabling a UAV to autonomously sense and avoid moving obstacles, this thesis makes the following contributions. Initially, an image-based reactive motion planner is developed for a quadrotor to avoid a fast approaching obstacle. Furthermore, A Dubin’s curve based geometry method is developed as a global path planner for a fixed-wing UAV to avoid collisions with aircraft. The image-based method is unable to produce an optimal path and the geometry method uses a simplified UAV model. To compensate

these two disadvantages, a series of algorithms built upon the Closed-Loop Rapid Exploratory Random Tree are developed as global path planners to generate collision avoidance paths in real time. The algorithms are validated in Software-In-the-Loop (SITL) and Hardware-In-the-Loop (HIL) simulations using a fixed-wing UAV model and in real flight experiments using quadrotors. It is observed that the algorithm enables a UAV to avoid moving obstacles approaching to it with different directions and speeds.

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2015

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Development and analysis of stochastic boundary coverage strategies for multi-robot systems

Description

Robotic technology is advancing to the point where it will soon be feasible to deploy massive populations, or swarms, of low-cost autonomous robots to collectively perform tasks over large domains and time scales. Many of these tasks will require

Robotic technology is advancing to the point where it will soon be feasible to deploy massive populations, or swarms, of low-cost autonomous robots to collectively perform tasks over large domains and time scales. Many of these tasks will require the robots to allocate themselves around the boundaries of regions or features of interest and achieve target objectives that derive from their resulting spatial configurations, such as forming a connected communication network or acquiring sensor data around the entire boundary. We refer to this spatial allocation problem as boundary coverage. Possible swarm tasks that will involve boundary coverage include cooperative load manipulation for applications in construction, manufacturing, and disaster response.

In this work, I address the challenges of controlling a swarm of resource-constrained robots to achieve boundary coverage, which I refer to as the problem of stochastic boundary coverage. I first examined an instance of this behavior in the biological phenomenon of group food retrieval by desert ants, and developed a hybrid dynamical system model of this process from experimental data. Subsequently, with the aid of collaborators, I used a continuum abstraction of swarm population dynamics, adapted from a modeling framework used in chemical kinetics, to derive stochastic robot control policies that drive a swarm to target steady-state allocations around multiple boundaries in a way that is robust to environmental variations.

Next, I determined the statistical properties of the random graph that is formed by a group of robots, each with the same capabilities, that have attached to a boundary at random locations. I also computed the probability density functions (pdfs) of the robot positions and inter-robot distances for this case.

I then extended this analysis to cases in which the robots have heterogeneous communication/sensing radii and attach to a boundary according to non-uniform, non-identical pdfs. I proved that these more general coverage strategies generate random graphs whose probability of connectivity is Sharp-P Hard to compute. Finally, I investigated possible approaches to validating our boundary coverage strategies in multi-robot simulations with realistic Wi-fi communication.

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2016

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System-level synthesis of dataplane subsystems for MPSoCs

Description

In recent years we have witnessed a shift towards multi-processor system-on-chips (MPSoCs) to address the demands of embedded devices (such as cell phones, GPS devices, luxury car features, etc.). Highly optimized MPSoCs are well-suited to tackle the complex application demands

In recent years we have witnessed a shift towards multi-processor system-on-chips (MPSoCs) to address the demands of embedded devices (such as cell phones, GPS devices, luxury car features, etc.). Highly optimized MPSoCs are well-suited to tackle the complex application demands desired by the end user customer. These MPSoCs incorporate a constellation of heterogeneous processing elements (PEs) (general purpose PEs and application-specific integrated circuits (ASICS)). A typical MPSoC will be composed of a application processor, such as an ARM Coretex-A9 with cache coherent memory hierarchy, and several application sub-systems. Each of these sub-systems are composed of highly optimized instruction processors, graphics/DSP processors, and custom hardware accelerators. Typically, these sub-systems utilize scratchpad memories (SPM) rather than support cache coherency. The overall architecture is an integration of the various sub-systems through a high bandwidth system-level interconnect (such as a Network-on-Chip (NoC)). The shift to MPSoCs has been fueled by three major factors: demand for high performance, the use of component libraries, and short design turn around time. As customers continue to desire more and more complex applications on their embedded devices the performance demand for these devices continues to increase. Designers have turned to using MPSoCs to address this demand. By using pre-made IP libraries designers can quickly piece together a MPSoC that will meet the application demands of the end user with minimal time spent designing new hardware. Additionally, the use of MPSoCs allows designers to generate new devices very quickly and thus reducing the time to market. In this work, a complete MPSoC synthesis design flow is presented. We first present a technique \cite{leary1_intro} to address the synthesis of the interconnect architecture (particularly Network-on-Chip (NoC)). We then address the synthesis of the memory architecture of a MPSoC sub-system \cite{leary2_intro}. Lastly, we present a co-synthesis technique to generate the functional and memory architectures simultaneously. The validity and quality of each synthesis technique is demonstrated through extensive experimentation.

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2013

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A modular ROS package for linear temporal logic based motion planning

Description

Objective of this thesis project is to build a prototype using Linear Temporal Logic specifications for generating a 2D motion plan commanding an iRobot to fulfill the specifications. This thesis project was created for Cyber Physical Systems Lab in Arizona

Objective of this thesis project is to build a prototype using Linear Temporal Logic specifications for generating a 2D motion plan commanding an iRobot to fulfill the specifications. This thesis project was created for Cyber Physical Systems Lab in Arizona State University. The end product of this thesis is creation of a software solution which can be used in the academia and industry for research in cyber physical systems related applications. The major features of the project are: creating a modular system for motion planning, use of Robot Operating System (ROS), use of triangulation for environment decomposition and using stargazer sensor for localization. The project is built on an open source software called ROS which provides an environment where it is very easy to integrate different modules be it software or hardware on a Linux based platform. Use of ROS implies the project or its modules can be adapted quickly for different applications as the need arises. The final software package created and tested takes a data file as its input which contains the LTL specifications, a symbols list used in the LTL and finally the environment polygon data containing real world coordinates for all polygons and also information on neighbors and parents of each polygon. The software package successfully ran the experiment of coverage, reachability with avoidance and sequencing.

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2013

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A graphical language for LTL motion and mission planning

Description

Linear Temporal Logic is gaining increasing popularity as a high level specification language for robot motion planning due to its expressive power and scalability of LTL control synthesis algorithms. This formalism, however, requires expert knowledge and makes it inaccessible to

Linear Temporal Logic is gaining increasing popularity as a high level specification language for robot motion planning due to its expressive power and scalability of LTL control synthesis algorithms. This formalism, however, requires expert knowledge and makes it inaccessible to non-expert users. This thesis introduces a graphical specification environment to create high level motion plans to control robots in the field by converting a visual representation of the motion/task plan into a Linear Temporal Logic (LTL) specification. The visual interface is built on the Android tablet platform and provides functionality to create task plans through a set of well defined gestures and on screen controls. It uses the notion of waypoints to quickly and efficiently describe the motion plan and enables a variety of complex Linear Temporal Logic specifications to be described succinctly and intuitively by the user without the need for the knowledge and understanding of LTL specification. Thus, it opens avenues for its use by personnel in military, warehouse management, and search and rescue missions. This thesis describes the construction of LTL for various scenarios used for robot navigation using the visual interface developed and leverages the use of existing LTL based motion planners to carry out the task plan by a robot.

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2013

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UnSync: a soft error resilient redundant CMP architecture

Description

Reducing device dimensions, increasing transistor densities, and smaller timing windows, expose the vulnerability of processors to soft errors induced by charge carrying particles. Since these factors are inevitable in the advancement of processor technology, the industry has been forced to

Reducing device dimensions, increasing transistor densities, and smaller timing windows, expose the vulnerability of processors to soft errors induced by charge carrying particles. Since these factors are inevitable in the advancement of processor technology, the industry has been forced to improve reliability on general purpose Chip Multiprocessors (CMPs). With the availability of increased hardware resources, redundancy based techniques are the most promising methods to eradicate soft error failures in CMP systems. This work proposes a novel customizable and redundant CMP architecture (UnSync) that utilizes hardware based detection mechanisms (most of which are readily available in the processor), to reduce overheads during error free executions. In the presence of errors (which are infrequent), the always forward execution enabled recovery mechanism provides for resilience in the system. The inherent nature of UnSync architecture framework supports customization of the redundancy, and thereby provides means to achieve possible performance-reliability trade-offs in many-core systems. This work designs a detailed RTL model of UnSync architecture and performs hardware synthesis to compare the hardware (power/area) overheads incurred. It then compares the same with those of the Reunion technique, a state-of-the-art redundant multi-core architecture. This work also performs cycle-accurate simulations over a wide range of SPEC2000, and MiBench benchmarks to evaluate the performance efficiency achieved over that of the Reunion architecture. Experimental results show that, UnSync architecture reduces power consumption by 34.5% and improves performance by up to 20% with 13.3% less area overhead, when compared to Reunion architecture for the same level of reliability achieved.

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2011

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Model based safety analysis of cyber physical systems

Description

Cyber Physical Systems (CPSs) are systems comprising of computational systems that interact with the physical world to perform sensing, communication, computation and actuation. Common examples of these systems include Body Area Networks (BANs), Autonomous Vehicles (AVs), Power Distribution Systems etc.

Cyber Physical Systems (CPSs) are systems comprising of computational systems that interact with the physical world to perform sensing, communication, computation and actuation. Common examples of these systems include Body Area Networks (BANs), Autonomous Vehicles (AVs), Power Distribution Systems etc. The close coupling between cyber and physical worlds in a CPS manifests in two types of interactions between computing systems and the physical world: intentional and unintentional. Unintentional interactions result from the physical characteristics of the computing systems and often cause harm to the physical world, if the computing nodes are close to each other, these interactions may overlap thereby increasing the chances of causing a Safety hazard. Similarly, due to mobile nature of computing nodes in a CPS planned and unplanned interactions with the physical world occur. These interactions represent the behavior of a computing node while it is following a planned path and during faulty operations. Both of these interactions change over time due to the dynamics (motion) of the computing node and may overlap thereby causing harm to the physical world. Lack of proper modeling and analysis frameworks for these systems causes system designers to use ad-hoc techniques thereby further increasing their design and development time. The thesis addresses these problems by taking a holistic approach to model Computational, Physical and Cyber Physical Interactions (CPIs) aspects of a CPS and proposes modeling constructs for them. These constructs are analyzed using a safety analysis algorithm developed as part of the thesis. The algorithm computes the intersection of CPIs for both mobile as well as static computing nodes and determines the safety of the physical system. A framework is developed by extending AADL to support these modeling constructs; the safety analysis algorithm is implemented as OSATE plug-in. The applicability of the proposed approach is demonstrated by considering the safety of human tissue during the operations of BAN, and the safety of passengers traveling in an Autonomous Vehicle.

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2010

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S-Taliro: a tool for temporal logic falsification for hybrid systems

Description

S-Taliro is a fully functional Matlab toolbox that searches for trajectories of minimal robustness in hybrid systems that are implemented as either m-functions or Simulink/State flow models. Trajectories with minimal robustness are found using automatic testing of hybrid systems against

S-Taliro is a fully functional Matlab toolbox that searches for trajectories of minimal robustness in hybrid systems that are implemented as either m-functions or Simulink/State flow models. Trajectories with minimal robustness are found using automatic testing of hybrid systems against user specifications. In this work we use Metric Temporal Logic (MTL) to describe the user specifications for the hybrid systems. We then try to falsify the MTL specification using global minimization of robustness metric. Global minimization is carried out using stochastic optimization algorithms like Monte-Carlo (MC) and Extended Ant Colony Optimization (EACO) algorithms. Irrespective of the type of the model we provide as an input to S-Taliro, the user needs to specify the MTL specification, the initial conditions and the bounds on the inputs. S-Taliro then uses this information to generate test inputs which are used to simulate the system. The simulation trace is then provided as an input to Taliro which computes the robustness estimate of the MTL formula. Global minimization of this robustness metric is performed to generate new test inputs which again generate simulation traces which are closer to falsifying the MTL formula. Traces with negative robustness values indicate that the simulation trace falsified the MTL formula. Traces with positive robustness values are also of great importance because they indicate how robust the system is against the given specification. S-Taliro has been seamlessly integrated into the Matlab environment, which is extensively used for model-based development of control software. Moreover the toolbox has been developed in a modular fashion and therefore adding new optimization algorithms is easy and straightforward. In this work I present the architecture of S-Taliro and its working on a few benchmark problems.

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Date Created
2011