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Special Issue "Practical Application of Sensors and Signal Processing Techniques in Mobile Robots"

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Sensors and Robotics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2022 | Viewed by 6090

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Jordi Palacín Roca
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Robotics, Universitat de Lleida, Jaume II 69, 25001 Lleida, Spain
Interests: mobile robots; omnidirectional mobile robots

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The expectation in the field of mobile robots is the continuous revision and improvement of the classical designs and the development of new breakthrough ideas and concepts ready to implement new functionalities and applications in a highly unstructured real world. The application of sensors and signal processing techniques either as a part of a mobile robot or as a fundamental part of a device of a mobile robot is driving this continuous evolution.

In this direction, the aim of this Special Issue is to highlight new advances in the field of mobile robots based, directly or indirectly, on the application of sensing concepts and methodologies.

Dr. Jordi Palacín Roca
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • application of sensors in mobile robots
  • new sensors for mobile robots
  • new compact devices for mobile robots
  • application of signal processing techniques in mobile robots
  • practical applications of mobile robots
  • evaluation of mobile robot performances
  • improvement in mobile robot performances

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Article
Sensor Fusion for Social Navigation on a Mobile Robot Based on Fast Marching Square and Gaussian Mixture Model
Sensors 2022, 22(22), 8728; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22228728 - 11 Nov 2022
Viewed by 408
Abstract
Mobile robot navigation has been studied for a long time, and it is nowadays widely used in multiple applications. However, it is traditionally focused on two-dimensional geometric characteristics of the environments. There are situations in which robots need to share space with people, [...] Read more.
Mobile robot navigation has been studied for a long time, and it is nowadays widely used in multiple applications. However, it is traditionally focused on two-dimensional geometric characteristics of the environments. There are situations in which robots need to share space with people, so additional aspects, such as social distancing, need to be considered. In this work, an approach for social navigation is presented. A multi-layer model of the environment containing geometric and topological characteristics is built based on the fusion of multiple sensor information. This is later used for navigating the environment considering social distancing from individuals and groups of people. The main novelty is combining fast marching square for path planning and navigation with Gaussian models to represent people. This combination allows to create a continuous representation of the environment from which smooth paths can be extracted and modified according to dynamically captured data. Results prove the practical application of the method on an assistive robot for navigating indoor scenarios, including a behavior for crossing narrow passages. People are efficiently detected and modeled to assure their comfort when robots are around. Full article
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Article
Kinematics Calibration and Validation Approach Using Indoor Positioning System for an Omnidirectional Mobile Robot
Sensors 2022, 22(22), 8590; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22228590 - 08 Nov 2022
Viewed by 355
Abstract
Monitoring and tracking issues related to autonomous mobile robots are currently intensively debated in order to ensure a more fluent functionality in supply chain management. The interest arises from both theoretical and practical concerns about providing accurate information about the current and past [...] Read more.
Monitoring and tracking issues related to autonomous mobile robots are currently intensively debated in order to ensure a more fluent functionality in supply chain management. The interest arises from both theoretical and practical concerns about providing accurate information about the current and past position of systems involved in the logistics chain, based on specialized sensors and Global Positioning System (GPS). The localization demands are more challenging as the need to monitor the autonomous robot’s ongoing activities is more stringent indoors and benefit from accurate motion response, which requires calibration. This practical research study proposes an extended calibration approach for improving Omnidirectional Mobile Robot (OMR) motion response in the context of mechanical build imperfections (misalignment). A precise indoor positioning system is required to obtain accurate data for calculating the calibration parameters and validating the implementation response. An ultrasound-based commercial solution was considered for tracking the OMR, but the practical observed errors of the readily available position solutions requires special processing of the raw acquired measurements. The approach uses a multilateration technique based on the point-to-point distances measured between the mobile ultrasound beacon and a current subset of fixed (reference) beacons, in order to obtain an improved position estimation characterized by a confidence coefficient. Therefore, the proposed method managed to reduce the motion error by up to seven-times. Reference trajectories were generated, and robot motion response accuracy was evaluated using a Robot Operating System (ROS) node developed in Matlab-Simulink that was wireless interconnected with the other ROS nodes hosted on the robot navigation controller. Full article
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Article
Optimal PID Control of a Brushed DC Motor with an Embedded Low-Cost Magnetic Quadrature Encoder for Improved Step Overshoot and Undershoot Responses in a Mobile Robot Application
Sensors 2022, 22(20), 7817; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22207817 - 14 Oct 2022
Viewed by 514
Abstract
The development of a proportional–integral–derivative (PID) control system is a simple, practical, highly effective method used to control the angular rotational velocity of electric motors. This paper describes the optimization of the PID control of a brushed DC motor (BDCM) with an embedded [...] Read more.
The development of a proportional–integral–derivative (PID) control system is a simple, practical, highly effective method used to control the angular rotational velocity of electric motors. This paper describes the optimization of the PID control of a brushed DC motor (BDCM) with an embedded low-cost magnetic quadrature encoder. This paper demonstrates empirically that the feedback provided by low-cost magnetic encoders produces some inaccuracies and control artifacts that are not usually considered in simulations, proposing a practical optimization approach in order to improve the step overshoot and undershoot controller response. This optimization approach is responsible for the motion performances of a human-sized omnidirectional mobile robot using three motorized omnidirectional wheels. Full article
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Article
Design Space Exploration of Clustered Sparsely Connected MPSoC Platforms
Sensors 2022, 22(20), 7803; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22207803 - 14 Oct 2022
Viewed by 354
Abstract
Heterogeneous multiprocessor platforms are the foundation of systems that require high computational power combined with low energy consumption, like the IoT and mobile robotics. In this paper, we present five new algorithms for the design space exploration of platforms with elements grouped in [...] Read more.
Heterogeneous multiprocessor platforms are the foundation of systems that require high computational power combined with low energy consumption, like the IoT and mobile robotics. In this paper, we present five new algorithms for the design space exploration of platforms with elements grouped in clusters with very few connections in between, while these platforms have favorable electric properties and lower production costs, the limited interconnectivity and inability of heterogeneous platform elements to execute all types of tasks, significantly decrease the chance of finding a feasible mapping of application to the platform. We base the new algorithms on the Non-dominated Sorting Genetic Algorithm II (NSGA-II) meta-heuristic and the previously published SDSE mapping algorithm designed for fully interconnected multiprocessor platforms. With the aim to improve the chance of finding feasible solutions for sparsely connected platforms, we have modified the parts of the search process concerning the penalization of infeasible solutions, chromosome decoding, and mapping strategy. Due to the lack of adequate existing benchmarks, we propose our own synthetic benchmark with multiple application and platform models, which we believe can be easily extended and reused by other researchers for further studying this type of platform. The experiments show that four proposed algorithms can find feasible solutions in 100% of test cases for platforms with dedicated clusters. In the case of tile-like platforms, the same four algorithms show an average success rate of 60%, with one algorithm going up to 84%. Full article
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Article
Enhancing the Sense of Attention from an Assistance Mobile Robot by Improving Eye-Gaze Contact from Its Iconic Face Displayed on a Flat Screen
Sensors 2022, 22(11), 4282; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22114282 - 04 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 813
Abstract
One direct way to express the sense of attention in a human interaction is through the gaze. This paper presents the enhancement of the sense of attention from the face of a human-sized mobile robot during an interaction. This mobile robot was designed [...] Read more.
One direct way to express the sense of attention in a human interaction is through the gaze. This paper presents the enhancement of the sense of attention from the face of a human-sized mobile robot during an interaction. This mobile robot was designed as an assistance mobile robot and uses a flat screen at the top of the robot to display an iconic (simplified) face with big round eyes and a single line as a mouth. The implementation of eye-gaze contact from this iconic face is a problem because of the difficulty of simulating real 3D spherical eyes in a 2D image considering the perspective of the person interacting with the mobile robot. The perception of eye-gaze contact has been improved by manually calibrating the gaze of the robot relative to the location of the face of the person interacting with the robot. The sense of attention has been further enhanced by implementing cyclic face explorations with saccades in the gaze and by performing blinking and small movements of the mouth. Full article
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Article
A Hybrid Visual-Based SLAM Architecture: Local Filter-Based SLAM with KeyFrame-Based Global Mapping
Sensors 2022, 22(1), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22010210 - 29 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 995
Abstract
This work presents a hybrid visual-based SLAM architecture that aims to take advantage of the strengths of each of the two main methodologies currently available for implementing visual-based SLAM systems, while at the same time minimizing some of their drawbacks. The main idea [...] Read more.
This work presents a hybrid visual-based SLAM architecture that aims to take advantage of the strengths of each of the two main methodologies currently available for implementing visual-based SLAM systems, while at the same time minimizing some of their drawbacks. The main idea is to implement a local SLAM process using a filter-based technique, and enable the tasks of building and maintaining a consistent global map of the environment, including the loop closure problem, to use the processes implemented using optimization-based techniques. Different variants of visual-based SLAM systems can be implemented using the proposed architecture. This work also presents the implementation case of a full monocular-based SLAM system for unmanned aerial vehicles that integrates additional sensory inputs. Experiments using real data obtained from the sensors of a quadrotor are presented to validate the feasibility of the proposed approach. Full article
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Article
Three-Dimensional Outdoor Analysis of Single Synthetic Building Structures by an Unmanned Flying Agent Using Monocular Vision
Sensors 2021, 21(21), 7270; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21217270 - 01 Nov 2021
Viewed by 769
Abstract
An algorithm designed for analysis and understanding a 3D urban-type environment by an autonomous flying agent, equipped only with a monocular vision, is presented. The algorithm is hierarchical and is based on the structural representation of the analyzed scene. Firstly, the robot observes [...] Read more.
An algorithm designed for analysis and understanding a 3D urban-type environment by an autonomous flying agent, equipped only with a monocular vision, is presented. The algorithm is hierarchical and is based on the structural representation of the analyzed scene. Firstly, the robot observes the scene from a high altitude to build a 2D representation of a single object and a graph representation of the 2D scene. The 3D representation of each object arises as a consequence of the robot’s actions, as a result of which it projects the object’s solid on different planes. The robot assigns the obtained representations to the corresponding vertex of the created graph. The algorithm was tested by using the embodied robot operating on the real scene. The tests showed that the robot equipped with the algorithm was able not only to localize the predefined object, but also to perform safe, collision-free maneuvers close to the structures in the scene. Full article
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Article
Evaluation of the Path-Tracking Accuracy of a Three-Wheeled Omnidirectional Mobile Robot Designed as a Personal Assistant
Sensors 2021, 21(21), 7216; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21217216 - 29 Oct 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1204
Abstract
This paper presents the empirical evaluation of the path-tracking accuracy of a three-wheeled omnidirectional mobile robot that is able to move in any direction while simultaneously changing its orientation. The mobile robot assessed in this paper includes a precise onboard LIDAR for obstacle [...] Read more.
This paper presents the empirical evaluation of the path-tracking accuracy of a three-wheeled omnidirectional mobile robot that is able to move in any direction while simultaneously changing its orientation. The mobile robot assessed in this paper includes a precise onboard LIDAR for obstacle avoidance, self-location and map creation, path-planning and path-tracking. This mobile robot has been used to develop several assistive services, but the accuracy of its path-tracking system has not been specifically evaluated until now. To this end, this paper describes the kinematics and path-planning procedure implemented in the mobile robot and empirically evaluates the accuracy of its path-tracking system that corrects the trajectory. In this paper, the information gathered by the LIDAR is registered to obtain the ground truth trajectory of the mobile robot in order to estimate the path-tracking accuracy of each experiment conducted. Circular and eight-shaped trajectories were assessed with different translational velocities. In general, the accuracy obtained in circular trajectories is within a short range, but the accuracy obtained in eight-shaped trajectories worsens as the velocity increases. In the case of the mobile robot moving at its nominal translational velocity, 0.3 m/s, the root mean square (RMS) displacement error was 0.032 m for the circular trajectory and 0.039 m for the eight-shaped trajectory; the absolute maximum displacement errors were 0.077 m and 0.088 m, with RMS errors in the angular orientation of 6.27° and 7.76°, respectively. Moreover, the external visual perception generated by these error levels is that the trajectory of the mobile robot is smooth, with a constant velocity and without perceiving trajectory corrections. Full article
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