"Building an Autonomous Service Robot with Master’s Student Alex Baucom" in Penn Engineering News

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"Building an Autonomous Service Robot with Master’s Student Alex Baucom" in Penn Engineering News

By Penn Engineering News

Published February 6th, 2017

"Robotics Master’s student Alex Baucom keeps a running account of projects on his website. Most recently, he’s been working on an autonomous service robot for a Computer and Information Science class. Thanks to an Amazon Echo and a suite of sensors, it can take direction in plain language, build maps of school buildings, and ferry messages or packages to people. Read Alex’s vision for the project, and see it come together, here.

This past semester I got a chance to work on a really cool project that involved designing service robots to roam the halls of Penn and help people with various tasks. At the beginning of the semester, we were basically given a standardized hardware platform with no real software capabilities designed yet so it was up to our class (about 12 students) to design all of the core functionality and integrate it together into a functional robot by the end of the semester. We broke up into 3 focus groups: navigation, vision, and manipulation. These focus groups each developed basic functionality for the robots for about ¾ of the course. The last ¼ of the course was all about integrating the focus group software into one cohesive system and actually getting the robots to complete various tasks

The hardware platform we used is show in the picture below. For more details on the hardware, please refer to this paper. We used the Robot Operating System (ROS) as the messaging framework."

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