Title page for ETD etd-05082008-133149

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Hurdus, Jesse Gutierrez
Author's Email Address jhurdus@vt.edu
URN etd-05082008-133149
Title A Portable Approach to High-Level Behavioral Programming for Complex Autonomous Robot Applications
Degree Master of Science
Department Mechanical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Hong, Dennis W. Committee Co-Chair
Wicks, Alfred L. Committee Co-Chair
Reinholtz, Charles F. Committee Member
  • Behavioral Programming
  • Action Selection
  • DARPA Urban Challenge
  • VictorTango
  • RoboCup
  • Hybrid Architecture
  • Unmanned Systems
  • Autonomous Vehicles
Date of Defense 2008-04-28
Availability unrestricted
Research in mobile robotics, unmanned systems, and autonomous man-portable vehicles has grown rapidly over the last decade. This push has taken the problems of robot cognition and behavioral control out of the lab and into the field. Two good examples of this are the DARPA Urban Challenge autonomous vehicle race and the RoboCup robot soccer competition. In these challenges, a mobile robot must be capable of completing complex, sophisticated tasks in a dynamic, partially observable and unpredictable environment. Such conditions necessitate a behavioral programming approach capable of performing high-level action selection in the presence of multiple goals of dynamically changing importance, and noisy, incomplete perception data.

In this thesis, an approach to behavioral programming is presented that provides the designer with an intuitive method for building contextual intelligence while preserving the qualities of emergent behavior present in traditional behavior-based programming. This is done by using a modified hierarchical state machine for behavior arbitration in sequence with a command fusion mechanism for cooperative and competitive control. The presented approach is analyzed with respect to portability across platforms, missions, and functional requirements. Specifically, two landmark case-studies, the DARPA Urban Challenge and the International RoboCup Competition are examined.

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