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Autonomy is the ability to solve the problem and make your own decisions. In human’s, autonomy permits us to do meaningful not to mention meaningless, tasks. This consists of things like talking, walking, opening doors, pushing buttons and changing light bulbs. In robots, autonomy is indeed no different.
Autonomous mobile robots (AMR) are robots that can perceive its environment, make decisions based on what it perceives and/or has been programmed to recognize and then actuate a movement or manipulation within the environment.
With regards to mobility, for example, these decision-based actions consist of basic process: starting, stopping, and maneuvering around obstacles on their way.
Manufacturing and production warehouses such as Amazon, Alibaba, Tesla, etc. is witnessing a major shift from traditional human labor to AMR. The fundamental goal of AMR is to create an intelligent system as stated earlier will think, work and process situations in a human-like manner but with half the time humans take to complete specific tasks.
In this report I will discuss the functions of the control system, sensors, actuators, power supply, and the embedded software in the wireless controlled autonomous mobile robotic system.
Drive motor: Direct current (DC) drive motor is commonly used for continuous rotation drive systems, however, it can be applied for partial (angle to angle) rotation as well. They come in almost countless variety of speeds and torques to suites any need. Without any gear down, DC drive motors make 1000 of revolutions per minute (rpm) but have slight torque.
Toque is basically the force produced in a given distance (Nm).
Reducer: It forms the core component of AMR robots. Reducer is a bearing that designates the complete integration of high precision reduction gear and high precision radial-axial bearing in a compact unit. This transmission permits the utilization of the reducer in some technics of AMR. Two reasons for using a reducer is first, increases the torque, and the second is to provide control resolution and closed-loop accuracy.
Steer motor: It is a three-phase electric motor powered by a pulse width modulated DC voltage. The steer motor is brushless and has an operating voltage range of 9 to 16 volts. The steer motor allows for change in speed and direction of the AMR.
Four wheels: The four wheels provides at least accuracy, speed, and stability for the AMR which are three characteristics very important is designing and building AMR. Omni wheels are the best type of wheel for AMR because it does the multi-directional movement.
Lead-acid battery: AMR uses lead acid-battery because they are reliable, resilient and easy to use. They are great battery that can be abused and can be operated with minimal support. They have a high-power density and can output large amounts of current. The disadvantage is they are heavy and have a small energy density. To charge this battery, you can just apply a higher voltage to them, and they will charge.
Sensory system: This gives the AMR the ability to sense objects around itself, the environmental conditions or its relative position.
There are different types of sensors to choose from when building AMR and I will identify the characteristics of the main sensors, and also explain why and where they are used in page 5.
Embedded controller: It is a microcontroller in the AMR programmed and controlled by a remote PC with software algorism written on it to handle various system tasks. The embedded controller controls all the operations of the AMR.
Remote control PC with embedded software: It is a host computer which does not have physical access with the AMR but communicates with the AMR to perform various tasks through a wireless medium which is Infrared (IR).
The embedded Software is the set of instructions or coded commands that tells the AMR what tasks to perform.
WORKING PRINCIPLE AND OPERATIONAL FEATURES OF THE COMPONENTS
Below is the flow chart of illustrating the working principle and operational features of the components autonomous mobile robot (AMR). Basically, an autonomous mobile robotic (AMR) system consists of:
The AMR structure consists basically of the AMR body that includes wheels and arms. Forces such as electricity is required to make the wheels and arms turn under command. One of the most interesting features of AMR in general is its behaviour, which needs a form of intelligence (Software algorism).
A variety of electric motors provide power to the AMR, making them move with several programmed motions. The efficiency rating of a motor describes how much of the electricity consumed is converted to mechanical energy.
DC motors: Permanent magnet DC motors in AMR need only two leads, and use arrangement of fixed and electro-magnets (stator and rotor) and switches. These form a commutator to produce motion through a spinning magnetic field.
AC motor: These motors rotate the power at the input-leads, to continuously move the field
AMR function according to a basic measurement, requiring different kinds of sensors. A sense of time is usually built-in through perceptual hardware and software, which updates rapidly. Sensors interact with the external environment and transform the energy associated with what is being measured (light, sound, pressure, temperature, etc.) into another form of energy
Main sensors used in AMR include light sensor, sound sensor, temperature sensor, contact sensor, proximity sensor, Distance sensor, pressure sensor, navigation / positioning sensor and an acceleration sensor
Light Sensor: AMR uses light sensor to detect light and create a voltage difference.
Sound Sensor: The sound sensor (generally a microphone) detects sound and returns a voltage proportional to the sound level. A simple robot can be designed to navigate based on sound it receives. Imagine a robot which turns right for one clap and turns left for two claps. AMR can use the same microphone for speech and voice recognition.
Implementing sound sensors is not easy as light sensors because sound sensors generate a very minor voltage difference which should be amplified to generate measurable voltage change
In general, the AMR power supply is provided by two types of sources: batteries that are used only once and then discarded; and rechargeable batteries that operate from a reversible chemical reaction and can be recharged thousand times. The first use of rechargeable battery gives up to 4 hours of continuous operation in an application of the AMR.
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