Design of a Hardware and Software Architecture for Unmanned Vehicles: A Modular Approach
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Unmanned Vehicles (UVs) have migrated from simple manipulators in mass production factories to air, land, and sea vehicles that are now common place on the battlefield and even in our homes. With the vast expansion of these vehicles' capabilities has come the equally vast increase in research and development for these platforms. To date, most research and development is performed with proprietary machines that severely limit researchers' abilities to design, implement, and test state-of-the-art technologies. There has also been a tendency for robotic platforms to be overly integrated which ultimately prevents the addition of new hardware, modification of existing hardware, or extraction of specific behaviors. These facts alone have had a staggering effect on the quality and timeliness of research and its ultimate transition to products. This work attempts to relieve these issues by presenting a methodology for developing a hardware and software architecture for unmanned systems that is usable across multiple vehicles and their varying payloads. This methodology is demonstrated through implementation spanning heterogeneous ground and air vehicles. Field experiments with the developed test-bed of vehicles demonstrate autonomous navigation, including take-off and landing, as well as multi-robot formation control.
KeywordsUnmanned Aerial Vehicle Software Architecture Obstacle Avoidance Pulse Width Modulation Collective Pitch
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