Student working on a research project.

Cooperative Payload Transport By Mobile Robot Collectives

Cooperation has been key to the success of most human endeavor and the similar incorporation of cooperation in robotic systems is critical to realize the next generation of systems and applications. Consider the illustrative scenario of household furniture movers required to move a large piece of furniture. Traditionally, such movers employ variable numbers of modular dollies, as determined by the payload. These are positioned at suitable locations, to ensure mobility, stability and load-distribution within the aggregation, which is then manipulated as a single composite system. Occasionally, additional dollies may be added or the relative locations of existing dollies may be readjusted to avoid obstacles or to enhance overall performance. A significant enhancement would be obtained if these wheeled dollies, with added intelligence and autonomy, could cooperate to either assist the human operator or autonomously perform this overall payload transport process.
Our guiding vision is to create an overall framework for payload transport by a fleet of semi-autonomous wheeled mobile robots, combined together flexibly to create a variable-topology composite system, controlled as a collective-formation while possessing the ability to reconfigure to enhance performance. The increased flexibility and robustness, derived from replacing a single large material handling device by a fleet of smaller lesser expensive systems achieving equal or better overall performance, is very attractive in many unstructured civilian and military material-handling application environments.
To this end, we are proposing to design, develop, implement and validate cooperating systems of wheeled mobile robots via virtual prototyping (SolidWorks/ADAMS) and physical prototyping (hardware-in-the-loop testing) and have openings for up to two qualified (2) undergraduate (seniors).

Research Project Information

Disciplines: Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Magneto-polarimetry
Student Skill-Set Needed: Must be motivated and capable of working independently. Programming experience in MATLAB and C is necessary. Experience with Virtual Prototyping Software (SolidWorks, ADAMS) would be a plus but can be learned on the job. Mechanical/ Shop skills desirable
Compensation: Academic Credit, Volunteer
Available: Fall, Spring


For further information on this opportunity, or to apply, contact:

Faculty Member: Venkat Krovi
Department: Mechanical And Aerospace Engineering
Office: 1011 Furnas Hall
Phone: 645-1430