Date of Award

5-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering (Holcomb Dept. of)

Committee Member

Ian Walker, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Ioannis Karamouzas

Committee Member

Adam Hoover

Abstract

For a robot to operate autonomously, it must have a method of planning its motion through its environment without the explicit guiding control of a human operator. In this thesis, a new approach was implemented to plan a collision-path for a mobile robot featuring a novel continuum arm.

We consider motion planning in the configuration spaces of robots containing continuum elements. The configuration space structure of extensible continuum sections was first analyzed, with practical constraints unique to continuum elements identified. The results were applied to generate the configuration space of a hybrid continuum lamp/mobile base robot developed as a part of a wider project aimed at robots in the home to assist aging-in-place. A conventional motion planning (Rapidly-exploring Random Tree search, RRT/A*) approach was subsequently applied for the robot in the aging-in-place application scenario.

The RRT generated complete paths through various environments and was successfully able to connect the start configuration to the goal configuration using the robot’s specific configuration space. Once the RRT completed, an A* search algorithm was run on the graph and the optimal path was found. This path, consisting of series of actions necessary for the robot to move from configuration to configuration, was then communicated to two generations of robot hardware using a local wireless network. The robots then executed the actions and moved through the environment.

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