Mixed-Signal Sensing, Estimation, and Control for Miniature Robots
Kuhlman, Michael Joseph
Abshire, Pamela A
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Control of miniature mobile robots in unconstrained environments is an ongoing challenge. Miniature robots often exhibit nonlinear dynamics and obstacle avoidance introduces significant complexity in the control problem. In order to allow for coordinated movements, the robots must know their location relative to the other robots; this is challenging for very small robots operating under severe power and size constraints. This drastically reduces on-board digital processing power and suggests the need for a robust, compact distance sensor and a mixed-signal control system using Extended Kalman Filtering and Randomized Receding Horizon Control to support decentralized coordination of autonomous mini-robots. Error analysis of the sensor suggests that system clock timing jitter is the dominant contributor for sensor measurement uncertainty. Techniques for system identification of model parameters and the design of a mixed-signal computer for mobile robot position estimation are presented.