Moving Without Wheels: Educational Experiments in Robot Design and Locomotion
NAVAL ACADEMY ANNAPOLIS MD
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The use of mobile robotics as a platform for engineering education is well-established. It is unfortunate that mobile robotics as a discipline is mostly overlooked in undergraduate programs. The goal of most of the available pedagogy on mobile robotics is to act as a platform for teaching teamwork, basic engineering principles, programming, etc. The experiments which are the subject of this paper take place in a senior-level elective on mobile robot design. It is worth emphasizing that the course teaches mobile robotics from a design and experimentation point of view, as a discipline in its own right. While the pedagogical goals of the course certainly involve reinforcement of the basic ABET criteria for undergraduate education, we believe that the most significant goal is to actually teach the students about mobile robotics in such a way that they would be able to design and build real systems for use in the real world. This is especially interesting for students at the United States Naval Academy due to the increased emphasis on unmanned and autonomous technologies in military settings. In addition to studying wheeled and tracked vehicle design and control exercises in the subject mobile robotics course focus on the use of articulated serial links for locomotion, including a wormlike robot and a multi-leg walking robot.