The use of mobile robots for teaching automatic control is becoming more popular in engineering curricula. Currently, many robot simulators with high-graphical capabilities can be easily used by instructors to teach control engineering. However, the use of real robots is not as straightforward as simulations. There are many hardware and software details that must be considered before applying control. This paper presents the development of an easy-to-use platform for teaching control of mobile robots. The laboratory has been carefully designed to conceal all technical issues, such as communications or the localization that do not address the fundamental concepts of control engineering. To this end, a position sensor based on computer vision has been developed to provide the positions of the robots on the platform in real time. The Khepera IV robot has been selected for this platform because of its flexibility and advanced built-in sensors but the laboratory could be easily adapted for similar robots. The platform offers the opportunity to perform laboratory practices to test many different control strategies within a real experimental multi-agent environment. A methodology for using the platform in the lab is also provided.
- mobile robot laboratory
- Robotics education
- vision-based indoor positioning sensor