Mobile Robot Control 2021

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'PICO in the Hospital'



This course is about software design and how to apply this in the context of autonomous robots. The accompanying assignment is about applying this knowledge to a real-life robotics task.

Course Schedule and Lecture Slides

Lectures will typically take place on the wednesdays between 15:30-17:15. The course schedule is as follows:

April 26 Lecture: Introduction to mobile robot control
May 3 Lecture: Navigation 101
May 10 Lecture: Navigation 102
May 12 Guided selfstudy
May 17 Lecture: Localization 101
May 24 Lecture: Localization 102
may 26 Guided selfstudy
May 31 Lecture: System architecture
June 2 Lecture: Software design and Git
June 7 Presentation of designs by the groups.
June 14 Guest lectures: "Safe navigation in a hospital environment" and "Autonomous parking of trucks"
June 30 Final Challenge
July 7 Deadline: Wiki Pages + Peer review

Getting Started

To get started, please do the tutorials on the Tutorial Page.

Here we will collect the Frequently Asked Questions. Please check this page before contacting the student assistants or the tutors! If you find any issues or questions you had to deal with, please add them as well so your colleagues don't run into the same problems.

Restaurant Competition

Overview of a possible restaurant setup, not up to scale!

Challenge Description

The figure on the right shows a 2D representation of a possible Restaurant setup, as an example. The objective is for Hero to "deliver" orders from the kitchen to a few tables. Which tables must be reached and in what order will be defined by the judges just before the challenge starts. The restaurant will contain a number of unknown static and dynamic objects (boxes, human actors walking)

Hero will be equipped with a basket in which he will carry the orders. The delivery of an order is defined as follows

  • Drive up to the table.
  • Position in front of the table, facing towards the table.
  • Give a clear sound signal, signalling Hero has arrived at table A (io.speak("I arrived at table four")).
  • Repeat until all the tables are visited in the correct order

Environment Specifications

  • All walls in the restaurant will be approximately straight. No weird curving walls.
  • The doors inside the restaurant will be (time-invariant) openings in the walls of about 0.5-1m that may be closed or open.
  • There may be multiple routes to a given goal.
  • A number of dynamic objects will be present in the form of human actors. Additionally, a number of static objects will be placed throughout the restaurant (see green blocks in figure on the right). The position does not have to be parallel to the walls.

Challenge Conditions

  • Hero will start in the start area, defined by a rectangle of approximately 1 by 1 meters. The orientation of Hero is arbitrary (i.e., not known to your software).
  • The list of tables to be visited will be provided right before the challenge starts as a list of integers (0 identifies the first table in the array).
  • After starting the software, Hero has to drive to the first table to deliver the order.
  • If Hero found the correct table and signalled his arrival, he has to drive to the next tables to deliver the orders.
  • The task is completed after Hero visited all tables on the list.
  • Bonus points are given to the groups that can detect the static and dynamic objects and present them in the world model. How this is presented is left to the groups.
  • Within the restaurant start area, we will make sure that some visible features (i.e. lines, corners) remain visible.
  • An actual map of the restaurant will be provided to the teams one week before the final challenge, this will encompass a vector map (an example is provided at the bottom of this section).

Challenge Rules

  • The list of tables to visit has to be supplied to the executable when starting the challenge, in the following format (for tables in the order: 2 -> 4 -> 3):
./hero_do_your_thing 2 4 3 
  • Do not touch the walls or objects! Slightly touching is allowed, however, bumping (i.e., driving head-on into a wall) is not allowed! If Hero hits the wall, we decide whether it counts as bumping.
  • Every team has two trials (= max one restart). A trial ends if:
    • Hero bumps into: the wall, a static or a dynamic object.
    • Hero has not moved or has not made sensible movements (as judged by the tutors) for 30 seconds
    • The total time limit of 10 minutes per group is reached
    • The group requests a restart (on the first trial)
  • restart means:
    • Hero restarts at the defined start position
    • The trail time (= the time graded) is reset, but
    • the total time keeps running
  • Maximum speed (is limited in Hero): 0.5 m/s translational, 1.2 rad/s rotational.
  • There will be no second attempt if first attempt was successful
  • Every situation that might occur, that is not covered in this document will be evaluated on the spot. If this happens, the judges have the final word.

Robot Software

  • Make sure your software is easy to set-up, i.e:
    • Your software can be updated with one easy command, e.g. 'git pull'
    • Your software can be compiled using 'cmake' and 'make'
    • It is allowed to use multiple executables.
    • If your set-up deviates from this method, let your tutor know 1 week before the challenge!
  • The software of all groups will be updated on the robot before the challenge starts
    • This way, teams starting the challenge have as much time as teams that do the challenge at the end, compiling in between trials is not allowed.

Example map format and code

  • We provide a simple example of a room with two tables and the code to read the map into your own C++ code.
  • For this simple example, a simulator map is also provided. (Note: a simulator map will not be provided for the final challenge).
  • We used the 20cm thickness blocks for your convenience
  • Remember to add unknown objects to your simulator and test environments and/or create other challenging maps and test scenarios!

You can find an example map (JSON) and the code to get you started here: File:Mrc map format

Map For The Final Challenge

The map for the final challenge will be published here in the week leading up to the final challenge. Clutter will be added (both static and moving) on the day of the challenge, adhering to the rules specified under "Restaurant Challenge"

Group Wiki Pages

Group 1 - visit wiki - Tutor:

Group 2 - visit wiki - Tutor:

Group 3 - visit wiki - Tutor: Jordy Senden

Group 4 - visit wiki - Tutor: Hao Liang Chen

Group 5 - visit wiki - Tutor: Bob Hendrikx

Group 6 - visit wiki - Tutor: Manuel Muñoz Sánchez

Group 7 - visit wiki - Tutor: Peter van Dooren

Group 8 - visit wiki - Tutor: César López

Contact Details


Bob Hendrikx - r dot w dot m dot hendrikx at tue dot nl

Hao Liang Chen - h dot l dot chen at tue dot nl

Jordy Senden - j dot p dot f dot senden at tue dot nl

Peter Dooren - p dot v dot dooren at tue dot nl

Manuel Muñoz Sánchez - m dot munoz dot sanchez at tue dot nl

César López - C dot A dot Lopez dot Martinez at tue dot nl