The unmanned systems research at Quanser has not stopped with the introduction of the Unmanned Vehicle Systems Lab, a research and teaching platform already adopted by many universities around the world. Recently, our engineering team experimented with a new unmanned ground vehicle nicknamed QGV (with Q as in Quanser). QGV is a mobile robot equipped with a five degree-of-freedom articulated arm. The mobility of the vehicle, plus the dexterity of the arm enable the robot to reach remote and/or hazardous environments and to interact with its surroundings. The applications of such platforms include warehouse automation, search and rescue missions and land surveying , as well as military uses such as bomb and mine defusal and even combat tasks.
Unmanned vehicles can operate in two distinct modes. In the first mode, teleoperation, the vehicle is controlled by a human operator via a communication link. The operator receives feedback from on-board sensors and sends the appropriate commands back to the vehicle. In the second mode, the vehicle acts as an autonomous robot and chooses commands based on the collected sensory information, using control algorithm running on the vehicle.
To demonstrate the abilities of the Quanser Unmanned Ground Vehicle, the robot is programmed to perform a search and object collection mission. Sensors on-board, including a camera and infra-red range sensors, are utilized to scan the environment for the target objects, while avoiding colliding with the perimeters as well as the obstacles. After finding the specific colored object, the vehicle approaches it and attempts to pick it up, using the articulated arm on the vehicle. Infra-red sensors are used to measure the distance between the vehicle and the target in order to place the arm in the right position. The target is then collected and the vehicle moves on to the next target of the specified color.
Watch a short demo here and visit Quanser's Innovation Hub at ASEE 2011 and ACC 2011 conferences to see it live.