results for au:Mitchell_I in:cs
Nov 01 2017 cs.RO
Constructing a smart wheelchair on a commercially available powered wheelchair (PWC) platform avoids a host of seating, mechanical design and reliability issues but requires methods of predicting and controlling the motion of a device never intended for robotics. Analog joystick inputs are subject to black-box transformations which may produce intuitive and adaptable motion control for human operators, but complicate robotic control approaches; furthermore, installation of standard axle mounted odometers on a commercial PWC is difficult. In this work, we present an integrated hardware and software system for predicting the motion of a commercial PWC platform that does not require any physical or electronic modification of the chair beyond plugging into an industry standard auxiliary input port. This system uses an RGB-D camera and an Arduino interface board to capture motion data, including visual odometry and joystick signals, via ROS communication. Future motion is predicted using an autoregressive sparse Gaussian process model. We evaluate the proposed system on real-world short-term path prediction experiments. Experimental results demonstrate the system's efficacy when compared to a baseline neural network model.
Oct 31 2017 cs.RO
Robots are increasingly operating in indoor environments designed for and shared with people. However, robots working safely and autonomously in uneven and unstructured environments still face great challenges. Many modern indoor environments are designed with wheelchair accessibility in mind. This presents an opportunity for wheeled robots to navigate through sloped areas while avoiding staircases. In this paper, we present an integrated software and hardware system for autonomous mobile robot navigation in uneven and unstructured indoor environments. This modular and reusable software framework incorporates capabilities of perception and navigation. Our robot first builds a 3D OctoMap representation for the uneven environment with the 3D mapping using wheel odometry, 2D laser and RGB-D data. Then we project multilayer 2D occupancy maps from OctoMap to generate the the traversable map based on layer differences. The safe traversable map serves as the input for efficient autonomous navigation. Furthermore, we employ a variable step size Rapidly Exploring Random Trees that could adjust the step size automatically, eliminating tuning step sizes according to environments. We conduct extensive experiments in simulation and real-world, demonstrating the efficacy and efficiency of our system.
We present a scalable set-valued safety-preserving controller for constrained continuous-time linear time-invariant (LTI) systems subject to additive, unknown but bounded disturbance or uncertainty. The approach relies upon a conservative approximation of the discriminating kernel using robust maximal reachable sets---an extension of our earlier work on computation of the viability kernel for high-dimensional systems. Based on ellipsoidal techniques for reachability, a piecewise ellipsoidal algorithm with polynomial complexity is described that under-approximates the discriminating kernel under LTI dynamics. This precomputed piecewise ellipsoidal set is then used online to synthesize a permissive state-feedback safety-preserving controller. The controller is modeled as a hybrid automaton and can be formulated such that under certain conditions the resulting control signal is continuous across its transitions. We show the performance of the controller on a twelve-dimensional flight envelope protection problem for a quadrotor with actuation saturation and unknown wind disturbances.
Scientists spend an increasing amount of time building and using software. However, most scientists are never taught how to do this efficiently. As a result, many are unaware of tools and practices that would allow them to write more reliable and maintainable code with less effort. We describe a set of best practices for scientific software development that have solid foundations in research and experience, and that improve scientists' productivity and the reliability of their software.