Robust Agent Control of an Autonomous Robot with Many Sensors and Actuators
This thesis presents methods for implementing robust hexpod locomotion on an autonomous robot with many sensors and actuators. The controller is based on the Subsumption Architecture and is fully distributed over approximately 1500 simple, concurrent processes. The robot, Hannibal, weighs approximately 6 pounds and is equipped with over 100 physical sensors, 19 degrees of freedom, and 8 on board computers. We investigate the following topics in depth: distributed control of a complex robot, insect-inspired locomotion control for gait generation and rough terrain mobility, and fault tolerance. The controller was implemented, debugged, and tested on Hannibal. Through a series of experiments, we examined Hannibal's gait generation, rough terrain locomotion, and fault tolerance performance. These results demonstrate that Hannibal exhibits robust, flexible, real-time locomotion over a variety of terrain and tolerates a multitude of hardware failures.