Embeddedd System Design for Robots - Design Concept, System Architecture, and Implementation

Li-Wei Wu, Jwu-Sheng Hu
2008 IEEE robotics & automation magazine  
E mbedded system design is essential for successful intelligent robotic implementations. Constructing a robot that can perform complicated tasks requires significant computing power and system integration effort [1]- [3] . The question that must be considered is, "What embedded system is needed for a complex intelligent machine such as a humanoid robot?" for example, the SONY SDR-4X needs more than 60 processors and over 2,260 million instructions per second (MIPS) of computing power [3] . The
more » ... omputing architecture is inherently distributed because it is unlikely to dump all the raw information into a single CPU. The signal interconnection, control, and information processing should, like the mechanical structure, be modularized. Without careful design, the entire embedded system could be difficult to develop, maintain, and extend. Therefore, a distributed embedded system may be a favorable choice. Most distributed systems have a certain network topology among their processing units. Based on currently available technology, what would be the appropriate networking method for an intelligent machine? In May 1998, the Journal of Internet Computing ran a special issue on embedded Ethernet technologies and highlighted recent developments and industrial applications of embedded Internet technology [4] . This technology supports devices and operating environments outside the traditional desktop PC envelope, where onboard memory, CPU power and speed, display capability, persistent storage, and costs are usually severely limited. At the soft end of the spectrum are embedded systems with close-to-desktop-PC resources and no real-time (RT) operating constraints, including cellular phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and handheld terminals. At the hard or deeply embedded end are factory automation and machine controllers, instrumentation and data collection systems, and telecommunication equipment [5], [6] . Using Ethernet as the communications backbone for the embedded systems of robots offers several advantages. First, the transmission control protocol/ Internet protocol (TCP/IP) de facto standard has been proven to be robust over many years and is open to the technical community. Second, when a
doi:10.1109/mra.2008.917885 fatcat:l6tjwh2fo5aurn2ovzkfk6lacu