University of Limerick
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The design and validation of a low-cost mobile robotic testbed supporting path planning, team building and string stability research

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posted on 2022-12-16, 15:06 authored by Michael Johnson
This thesis presents the design and development of a low-cost testbed for distributed mobile robotic research, its validation in both the academic research and educational spaces and the application of this development platform to the emerging eld of string stability in order to propose an a ordable research tool for localisation, education, path following and automatic convoy formation research and development. Despite the increase in available robotic platforms and associated enabling technologies such as localisation and communication, there exists a requirement for an a ordable generic testbed that will facilitate entry into the distributed mobile robotic research space. This thesis addresses this shortcoming by presenting the design and validation of a distributed mobile robotic testbed which facilitates research and development. The development and realisation of the closed-loop mobile robotic testbed, complete with oor area, localisation and communications support, is presented. Validation of the testbed is a two-fold process. First performance capability tests in relation to trajectory following, path planning, localisation and real time distributed communication overhead costs illustrate the superiority of a specialised solution such as the MiaBot Pro robotic platform over a generic low-cost solution such as the LEGO Mindstorm NXT robotic alternative. Secondly, the testbed is used to address the current lack of a low-cost empirical solution for researchers in the eld of string stability. Research in this area is still largely based on simulation results due to the prohibitive implementation costs of a real-world test system for string stability. This thesis proposes the adaptation of testbeds such as the low-cost mobile robotic testbed in the Wireless Access Research Centre at the University of Limerick for this purpose, demonstrates the feasibility of such an undertaking and validates results that compare favourably with simulation only based studies that have thus far dominated the literature. Finally, the proposed testbed is used to achieve certain well de ned learning outcomes across a wide spectrum of educational curriculae. This ranges from second level ICT through a series of honours undergraduate and taught postgraduate electronic engineering and robotics courses. The use of the testbed in the investigation of teaching pedagogies such as Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and their applicability to electronic engineering courses is also considered in the course of this work.


A new method for transforming data to normality with application to density estimation

National Research Foundation

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  • Faculty of Science and Engineering


  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Hayes, Martin J.



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Department or School

  • Electronic & Computer Engineering

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