2016 ~ Present

ROVER: RObotic Vehicles for Education and Research


The goal of ROVER is to design, build and develop completely autonomous, robotic vehicles to enable environmental sensing and interaction in the environment and the smart cities of the future. The project goals are flexible between years and will educate and train students in any aspect of robotic systems relevant to their interests and discipline.

Issues Involved or Addressed

Practical fundamentals of robotics are addressed with novel solutions, including the use of open-source and accessible modern hardware, the design of efficient and sturdy frame and actuator structures, robust communications and control programming, and autonomy that benefits from the use of probabilistic and evidence-based abstraction. Goals for robotic design are aligned with practical applications for improving safety and quality of life for humans in a wide range of areas including automated remote inspection and exploration, environmental monitoring and intervention, and collaborative applications with humans.

Methods and Technologies

  • Linux, RTEMS, ROS, and ROCK operating frameworks
  • Arduino and other open microcontroller hardware
  • Packet radio and wi-fi communications networks
  • Li-Ion/LiPo battery technology and charging
  • DC-DC power conversion and switching motor drives
  • Tensegrity and truss chassis structures with actuation
  • Lightweight rapid-prototyped components
  • Probabilistic and Bayesian software systems
  • Neural networks and deep learning packages
  • Statistical filtering and signal processing techniques

Academic Majors of Interest

  • Design, Manufacture, and Engineering Management
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Computer and Electronic Systems
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering

Preferred Interests and Preparation

A wide variety of interests can be supported in many different robotic applications, perennial foci include the following:
EEE and CES: interest in embedded programming, microcontrollers and power electronics, and robotic communications and control.
Mechanical and Aerospace: Structural design, actuator systems, and dynamic modelling and control
Computing and CES: Signal processing algorithms, feedback control systems, and artificial intelligence and learning
DMEM: System-level design, CAD and mechanical design for X, project management and operations

Team Advisors

Dr. Mark A. Post