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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A software framework for developing high quality control systems for autonomous robots Lahey, Darrell M.

Abstract

This thesis presents a software framework and distributed execution system that allows developers to create control systems for autonomous robots. These control systems are behavior-based, and developers define them using networks of software components. The systems allow sequencing of behavior execution without coupling task sequencers with specific behaviors, and they allow groups of behaviors to be managed as single, cohesive, units. The presented software framework leverages the computational power of the Java programming language, while shielding developers from network communication details. In addition, it facilitates the development of high quality control systems, where quality refers to system usefulness and development ease. The presented software framework supports the functionality required to create control systems that allow robots to perform human-like tasks in environments inhabited by humans. Most importantly, it supports both deliberation and reactivity, along with task sequencing and the coordination of action requests. A navigation system for a simulated mobile robot, developed using this software framework, shows the usefulness of the framework and execution system. The framework does show weaknesses, however, in areas such as robustness, efficiency, and synchronization. Nonetheless, these weaknesses can be overcome, and the software framework and execution system, as a whole, show great potential.

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