R09200: Open Source, Open Architecture Modular Scalable Robotic Vehicle Platform Family
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RP1 Robotic Vehicle Platform Project Family

Needs Assessment

Customer's Mission Statement

The mission of the RP1 family of projects is to develop a land-based, modular, open architecture, open source, extensible, fully instrumented robotic/remote controlled vehicular platform for use in a variety of education, research & development, and outreach applications within and beyond the RIT KGCOE. The RP1 family should provide a vehicle platform to support a variety of payload of nominally 1 kg in mass, and the ability to traverse terrain typical of interior buildings at RIT, exclusive of staircases and other vertical obstacles. Additionally, modular components of the RP1 family should be readily used by faculty and students as sophisticated components for their own applications designs.

The RP1 family of projects should incorporate lessons learned from prior work on the RP10 and RP100 families of projects. The RP1 family of projects should use an engineering design process to develop modules and subsystems that can be integrated by subsequent senior design teams. This roadmap builds upon prior work that senior design students have completed on 100 kg and 10 kg payload variants of the family.

The mission of each student team contributing to this project family is to develop or enhance a particular subsystem for a robotic vehicular platform, and provide complete documentation of the analysis, design, manufacturing, fabrication, test, and evaluation of each subsystem to a level of detail that a subsequent team can build upon their work with no more than one week of background research.

The RP1 family is planned to evolve over multiple generations of the product release, with an annual product release date of nominally 1 May. Preliminary Product development budgets will be allocated on 1 September for the next development year, and finalized on 1 December for the development year. Each development year will nominally follow the academic year schedule. The majority of expenditures are anticipated to take place during the winter and spring quarter each year. The fall quarter will generally be focused on design, and testing outcomes and performance from prior year hardware.

Voice of the Customer

The RP1 family of projects should build upon and use the resources purchased for and developed by past senior design teams working on the RP10 and RP100 families, as indicated below.

Historical Projects from the RP10 and RP100 Family of Projects
Historical Foundation Projects Title DPM Term SD1 Start Term SD2 End Term
P07201 RP10 Motor Module 2005-3 2006-1 2006-3
P07202 RP100 Motor Module 2005-3 2006-1 2006-3
P07204 RP10 Platform 2006-1 2006-2 2006-3
P07205 RP100 Platform 2006-1 2006-2 2006-3
P08201 RP 10 Robotic Platform 2nd Generation

Bill of Materials

Mechanical Design

Electrical Design

Software Design

2006-3 2007-1 2007-3
P08205 RP 1 Motor Module First Generation Wireless Communications

Recommendations and Lessons learned from P09205 and P08208

Bill of Materials

Computer Code

Pro-E CAD Files

2007-1 2007-2 2007-3
P08208 RP 1 Motor Module First Generation Drivetrain 2007-1 2007-2 2007-3

Customer's Objective Tree

Primary Objective: The mission of the RP1 family of projects is to develop a land-based, modular, open architecture, open source, extensible, fully instrumented robotic/remote controlled vehicular platform for use in a variety of education, research & development, and outreach applications within and beyond the RIT KGCOE.

The primary objective will be accomplished subject to numerous additional objectives, as identified in the listing below. These objectives should be addressed across a series of projects related to this project family. Some individual projects within the track may focus on various areas of these objectives, but all student teams are encouraged to keep the "big picture" in mind, so that their individual project contributions can be more readily integrated with the larger system view.

  1. Constraint Objectives
    • Regulatory Constraints
      • C.1 The design shall comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Measure of Effectiveness: Every team's design project report should include references to, and compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
      • C.2 The design shall comply with all applicable RIT Policies and Procedures. Measure of Effectiveness: Every team's design project report should include references to, and compliance with all applicable RIT Policies and Procedures.
      • C.3 Wherever practical, the design should follow industry standard codes and standards. Measure of Effectiveness: Every team's design project report should include references to, and compliance with at least one industry code or standard.
    • Academic Constraints
      • C.10 Every SD1 project should result in a technical report, including a set of design drawings and bill of materials supported by engineering analysis. Measure of Effectiveness: 80% of all SD1 evaluation responses by all review panels should be at a score of "acceptable" or higher.
      • C.11 Every SD2 project should result in a physical engineering model, supported by experimental test and evaluation data. The design and testing results shall be published in the annual proceedings of the Multi-disciplinary design conference in the KGCOE at RIT. Measure of Effectiveness: 80% of all SD2 evaluation responses by all review panels should be at a score of "acceptable" or higher.
      • C.12 Every SD2 project should conduct a formal customer interview/review to establish the level of customer satisfaction with the project outcomes. Measure of Effectiveness: 100% of the customers engaged in the MSD program should return for additional projects.
    • Safety Constraints
      • C.20 The top speed of the vehicular platform should be scaled with its size, and should be safe for its operating range (environment).
      • C.21 The vehicular platform shall have on-board and remote "kill switches".
      • C.22 Human safety takes precedence over all other design objectives.
      • C.23 Building and facilities safety takes precedence over robotic vehicle platform damage.
      • C.24 The vehicle should be robust to damage by inexperienced operators.
    • Time Constraints
      • C.30 The RP1 family is planned to evolve over multiple generations of the product release, with an annual product release date of nominally 1 May.
  2. Resource Objectives
    • People Resource
      • R.0 The minimum acceptable team size is 3 students.
      • R.1 The maximum acceptable team size is 8 students.
      • R.2 The ideal team size is 6 students.
    • Equipment Resource
      • R.10 The project team must have access to required equipment, tools, computers, software, and space to work.
      • R.11 The team members should fabricate most custom components on campus, and the design should consider in-house manufacturing resources.
  3. Economic Objectives
    • Materials Costs
      • R.31 The cost to manufacture subsequent copies of a designed vehicle, sub-assembly, or part should decrease with increasing volume.
      • R.34 The cost to manufacture subsequent copies of a designed vehicle, sub-assembly, or part should be borne by the team, faculty member, research project, company, or department desiring to use the item for their research and development work.
    • Labor Costs
      • R.40 The design teams are expected to account for the nominal labor costs of RIT shop personnel using a hypothetical billing rate of M$D50 per hour. This include the cost of shop machine tool usage.
      • R.41 The design teams are expected to account for the nominal labor costs of TA's, Faculty, or other staff assigned to assist and guide then team, using a hypothetical billing rate of M$D100 per hour.
      • R.42 The design teams are expected to account for the nominal labor costs of student engineering design team members using a hypothetical billing rate of M$D75 per hour.
    • Amortization Costs
      • R.50 The design teams are not expected to recover the investment costs associated with the platform development.
  4. Scope Objectives
    • S.1 The robotic platform shall be scalable (1 kg, 10 kg, 100kg payload variants of the same design)
    • S.2 The robotic platform shall be modular (Modules must be inter-changeable between platforms of same scale)
    • S.3 The robotic platform shall be open architecture (All COTS components must be available from multiple vendors)
    • S.4 The robotic platform shall be open source (All drawings, programs, documentation, data, etc. must be open source published in standard formats)
    • S.5 The robotic platform shall be manufacturable in lots as small as one and as large as 10.
    • S.6 The robotic platform shall NOT be designed assuming that it is targeted for a commercial product.
    • S.7 The robotic platform design shall be available for use and adoption by other commercially oriented SD teams.
    • S.8 Initial targeted payloads (clients) include: (1) the Crassidis MINS client (2) the Yang Networking client
  5. Technology Objectives
    • T.1 The RP1 is a robotic platform exhibiting a payload range from 0.1 to 1 kg.
    • T.2 The range of the 1 Kg robotic platform shall be the James E. Gleason Building, RIT Bldg #09.
    • T.3 The preferred motion control technology is drive by wire.
    • T.4 The preferred energy source is rechargeable DC battery.
    • T.5 This roadmap will be updated annually by DPM students, with a benchmarking study, to articulate the general state of the art with similar products and technologies under development at enterprises other than RIT.

Voice of the Engineer

The customer, who is an engineer, has defined that this roadmap will be developed using a modular design approach, and that each module must be a useful product by itself, in addition to being useful as an integrated package of modules. The basic idea for the evolution of the modules are illustrated in the figure below.

This is a graphical image of the RP1 roadmap, showing historical contributions from the RP10 and RP100 families, and a future plan for the RP1 family.

This is a graphical image of the RP1 roadmap, showing historical contributions from the RP10 and RP100 families, and a future plan for the RP1 family.

Engineer's Function Tree

The engineer has created a function tree for the design as follows.

Primary Function: Design, Build, Test, and Deliver a land-based, modular, open architecture, open source, extensible, fully instrumented robotic/remote controlled vehicular platform for use in a variety of education, research & development, and outreach applications within and beyond the RIT KGCOE.

The primary function will be accomplished by meeting the various subfunctions, as identified in the listing below.

Rectangular Configuration for a User's Platform

Rectangular Configuration for a User's Platform

Triangular Configuration for a User's Platform

Triangular Configuration for a User's Platform

Semi-Truck Style Configuration for a User's Platform

Semi-Truck Style Configuration for a User's Platform

Snake-like Configuration for a User's Platform

Snake-like Configuration for a User's Platform

First Generation RP100A triangular platform.

First Generation RP100A triangular platform.

P07204 - RP10 Platform
First Generation RP100B rectangular platform.

First Generation RP100B rectangular platform.

P07205 - RP100 Platform
Second Generation RP10 Robotic Platform, showing two motor modules, two idlers, integrated electronics system, battery storage, and flexible payload platform

Second Generation RP10 Robotic Platform, showing two motor modules, two idlers, integrated electronics system, battery storage, and flexible payload platform

Platform controller.

Platform controller.

First Generation RP10 Software systems.

First Generation RP10 Software systems.

Competitive Benchmarking

Each year, the DPM and MSD students are to update the 'state of the art' technology roadmap as part of their benchmarking activities. As students prepare the out-year projections they are expected to determine what types of technology (both open source and proprietary) are likely to be available and may impact not only subsystems but the entire architecture. Student teams are expected to conduct benchmarking and external observation so that they understand not only what's available but how to go about getting information and synthesizing it. As information comes available about work done by others, include links in the table below that (a) link to the original work, and (b) link to your competitive analysis of that work.

R09200 RP1 - Benchmarking Study
Functional Subsystem Search US Patents Commercial Products MIT Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute Research Centers FIRST Robotics High School League
Platform Robot Patents PANS: A Portable Navigation Platform
Motor Module Direct Drive Wheel Patents Adaptive Intelligent Vehicle Modules for Tactical Driving
DC Motor Control DC Motor Control Patents Electric Motors and Motor Control Presentation Pulsewidth Modulation Control of Brushless DC Motors for Robotic Applications Fisher Price Motor Curve
Wireless Comms Wireless Communications Patents MIT Wireless Communications Open Courseware

Wireless Communications and Network Science Laboratory

Emulation of Multi-Hop Wireless Ad Hoc Networks FIRST IR Schematic
Sensors & Feedback Optical Encoder Patents Controls, Instrumetation, and Robotics

Robotics Vision, Sensors, and Networks Group

Position and Velocity Measurement by Optical Shaft Encoders Sensor Strip Schematics
Software System Robotic Software Patents Open Courseware - Lego Robotics Software OpenRAVE: A Planning Architecture for Autonomous Robotics

Concept Development

Roadmap Interface Specifications

R09200 RP1 - Roadmap Interface Specifications
Functional Subsystem Motor Modules DC Motor Control Wireless Communications Sensors and Feedback Software System
Platform Platform to Motor Module Platform to DC Motor Control Platform to Wireless Communications Platform to Sensors and Feedback Platform to Software System
Motor Module XXXX Motor Module to DC Motor Control Motor Module to Wireless Communications Motor Module to Sensors and Feedback Motor Module to Software System
DC Motor Control XXXX XXXX DC Motor Control to Wireless Communications DC Motor Control to Sensors and Feedback DC Motor Control to Software System
Wireless Comms XXXX XXXX XXXX Wireless Communications to Sensors and Feedback Wireless Communications to Software System
Sensors & Feedback XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX Sensors and Feedback to Software System

Functions and Means Morphological Chart

R09200 RP1 - Roadmap Morphological Chart
Functional Subsystem Means Alpha Means Beta Means Gamma Means Delta Means Epsilon Means Zeta
Platform Basic Triangular Platform Basic Rectangular Platform Semi-Truck Platform Snake / Train Platform with Single Engine Snake / Train Platform with Multiple Engines First Year Student Platform Design Competition
Motor Module Direct Drive Forward and Reverse Motion Direct Drive Left and Right Steering Cost Reduction, Mass Production, Reliability Increase Rudimentary Suspension System Active Suspension System Cost Reduction, Mass Production, Reliability Increase
DC Motor Control Open Loop Speed Control Open Loop Position Control Feedback Speed Control Feedback Position Control Regenerative Braking Cost Reduction, Mass Production, Reliability Increase
Wireless Comms Crossbow XCVR technology Cost Reduction, Mass Production, Reliability Increase SPI command interface RIT Open Source Wireless Command & Control CAN Command interface Cost Reduction, Mass Production, Reliability Increase
Sensors & Feedback Encoder data recording and dead reckoning Encoder feedback control Rudimentary Obstacle Avoidance Autonomous Maze navigation Communication to and from peers Collaborative behavior
Software System Basic text command line interface, minimal instruction set GUI interface, with expanded instruction set PIC Family Microprocessor FPGA Family microprocessor Linux Host interface on platform or base station Autonomous Navigation and Systems of Robots

The RP1 family of projects currently consists of the sub-projects as listed in the table below, and builds upon prior foundation projects from the RP10 and RP100 families as indicated below.

R09200 Family of Projects
Related Project Title DPM Term SD1 Start Term SD2 End Term
P09201 RP 1 2008-2 2008-3
P09202 RP 1 2008-2 2008-3
P09203 RP 1 2008-2 2008-3
P09204 RP 1 2008-1 2008-2