Dynamic reconfigurable platform for swarm robotics

Heath, Gerhardus (2011-03)

Thesis (MScEng (Electrical and Electronic Engineering))--University of Stellenbosch, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Swarm intelligence research was inspired by biological systems in nature. Working ants and bees has captivated researchers for centuries, with the ant playing a major role in shaping the future of robotic swarm applications. The ants foraging activity can be adapted for different applications of robotic swarm intelligence. Numerous researchers have conducted theoretical analysis and experiments on the ants foraging activities and communication styles. Combining this information with modern reconfigurable computing opens the door to more complex behaviour with improved system dynamics. Reconfigurable computing has numerous applications in swarm intelligence such as true hardware parallel processing, dynamic power save algorithms and dynamic peripheral changes to the CPU core. In this research a brief study is made of swarm intelligence and its applications. The ants' foraging activities were studied in greater detail with the emphasis on a layered control system designed implementation in a robotic agent. The robotic agent’s hardware was designed using a partial self reconfigurable FPGA as the main building element. The hardware was designed with the emphasis on system flexibility for swarm application drawing attention to power reduction and battery life. All of this was packaged into a differential drive chassis designed specifically for this project.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die motivering vir swerm robotika kom van die natuur. Vir eeue fassineer swerm insekte soos bye en miere navorsers. Dit is verstommend hoe ’n groep klein en nietige insekte sulke groot take kan verrig. Die mier speel ‘n belangrike rol en is die sentrale tema van menige publikasies. Die mier se kos-soek aktiwiteit kan aangepas word vir swerm robotika toepassings. Hierdie aktiwiteit vervat verskeie sleutel konsepte wat belangrik is vir robotika toepassings. Deur bv. die mier se aktiwiteite te kombineer met dinamies herkonfigureerbare hardeware, kan meer komplekse gedrag bestudeer word. Die stelsel dinamika verbeter ook, aangesien dit nou moontlik is om sekere take in parallel uit te voer. Deur ’n interne prosesseerder in die herkonfigureerbare hardeware in te sluit, is dit nou vir die stelsel moontlik om homself te verander tydens taak verrigting. Komplekse krag bestuur gedrag is ook moontlik deurdat die prosesseerder die spoed en rand apparaat kan verander soos benodig. ‘n Verdere voordeel is dat die stelsel aanpasbaar is en dus vir verskeie navorsingsprojekte gebruik kan word. In hierdie navorsing word ’n literatuur studie van swerm robotika gemaak en word daar ook na toepassings gekyk. Met die klem op praktiese implementering, word die mier se kos-soek aktiwiteit in detail ondersoek deur gebruik te maak van ’n laag beheerstelsel. In hierdie laag beheerstelsel verteenwoordig elke laag ’n hoër vlak gedrag. Stelsel aanpasbaarheid en lae kragverbruik speel ’n deurslaggewende rol in die ontwerp, en om hierdie rede vorm ’n FPGA die hart van die sisteem.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6814
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