Devices that support humans in their daily activities are slowly finding their way into our lives. One of the earliest visions of artificial intelligence is the realization of autonomous robots that can achieve a level of problem-solving competency comparable to humans. Recent developments in household robotics have spawned a promising field with the potential to yield many new labour-saving products, such as vacuum-cleaning robots. However, the dynamic and diverse nature of the household environment makes developing useful household robots quite challenging; consumer autonomous devices must be flexible enough to tolerate a wide range of operating conditions and cope with a time-varying environment. In this case study, an autonomous system design capable of finding misplaced objects and tidying variable household environments is proposed.
Iain Peet, a co-op student from the University of Waterloo, intended to develop a viable design for an autonomous mobile robot capable of exploring a home and navigate through previously unknown obstacles, cleaning and setting the table and finding misplaced objects.
The teaching objective for this case study is to illustrate need analysis, device level and frame work control system design, developing the design criteria and constraints for this particular software requirements problem. The case will give students the opportunity to evaluate commercially available components with regards to their impact on the efficiency of control system design.