Robotics and autonomous systems
This course is an advanced course in computer science focusing on the broad, inter-disciplinary field of robotics where the students build and program an autonomous robot.
AimAfter the course the student should be able to
Course descriptionThe course is divided into two parts, one that covers theory (lectures and lab) and one for practice (project). The course runs over two periods which rought cover one of these parts each. The majority of the work will be done in period 2 (the project).
TheoryThe theoretical part of the course deals with fundamental concepts in robotics, kinematics and navigation. This part of the course consists mainly of the lectures and a lab assignment.
We will try to avoid too much of the normal teacher-speaks, students-listen paradigm for the lectures and instead discuss the different topics in the book together. The lectures will therefore more be like a combination of seminar and workshop. There are several reasons for this. The assumption is that everyone has read the material before each meeting and thus comes prepared. The goal with each meeting is that everyone gets a chance to get their questions answered so that we leave knowing what is required to know about that topic in the course. This promotes a deeper approach to learning and allows us to use the time together more efficiently than simply reciting the book.
The lecturer will present the material in a condensed form for about 30 min approximately. As you can imagine 30min is not that much and there is no way that all the material can be covered in that time. Every student attending the lecture is supposed/assumed to have read the material dealt with. You should also collect the questions that you got when reading the material and write these down so that they can be discuessed during the lecture.
After the lecture you will be divided into groups and you will be given about 30min to discuss the material within the group. This is an excellent time to try to get your questions answered with the help of follow students. A number of questions will be handed out to the groups to discuss around.
At the end of the lecture we will discuss the findings of each group in full class again.
Note that the lectures are supposed to be an instrument for learning and not assessment. You are required to participate actively in the lectures and related activities but what you do does not affect your grade (other than pass/fail). The lectures situtation is thus a "safe" environment where no question is too simple or stupid and learning is the only goal.
The lectures and the project will mostly deal with mobile robotics. However, a large part of industrial robotics today deals with industrial robots, i.e. manipulators. There will be one lab during the course where you will gain some experience with working a simulated robot arm.
Learning statementBefore the project part of the course each student is required to produce a document where s/he discusses what s/he wants to learn more by the end of the course. Again this is to make you actively think about the learning. Each student come into the course with a different background, different skills and thus it is likely that you will want to learn different things. After the course you will produce a document where you reflect one what you did learn and how that relected to what you wanted to learn.
PracticeDuring the course a small, mobile, autonomous robot for performing a certain task is built. This work is carried out as a project. The participants in the course work in groups on the practical implementation of a specific behaviour of this simple robot by integration of mechanisms for sensing, perception, planning and control of actions on the robot. At the end of the course there is a contest between the robots that the participants have constructed to assess the strength and weaknesses of different approaches. Course labs:
1535 (Computers and test environment)
1621 (small workshop)
The project task will be described in more detail on BILDA
The task to perform may vary from year to year. Over the last years the groups have build robots that play hockey and football and navigate through a maze to do search and rescue. You will most likely spend most time during the course working on the project. For many students this is the first time that they get to apply a lot of the knowledge that they have acquired over the years at KTH or elsewhere. The project also offers a chance to work with an open-ended problem that offers a challenge beyond that of a typical lab or project. You need to plan the work, build the mechanics, design the algorithms, program low and high level and evaluate the result. The project thus gives you a chance to see something come to life from the drawing board to an experimental prototype. You will be divided into groups by the course team.
Towards the end of the course the project work should be documented in a project report. The report should be written as a technical report. It should be submitted as a pdf.
At the end of the course each student is also required to hand in a self-reflection that discusses her/his work in the project. What did you spend time on? Did it take as much time as planned? Did you learn what you set out to learn? The aim again is to make you think about the learning. This document should also contain what you think is an appropriate grade for your own work in the course with a motivation. See assigments in BILDA for more info.
You are also required to produce a document where you reflect on the work by the group. How did the group work together? Did you follow the project plan? If not why? Was something harder/easier than planned? See assigments in BILDA for more info.
Course bookThe course book is "Introduction to Autonomous Mobile Robots" by Roland Siegwart and Illah R. Nourbakhsh" published by the MIT Press.
There is a page with the answer to some questions around some of the equations etc in the book to be found here.
RequirementsThe requirements for passing the course are
GradingSee BILDA for information The grade on the course is given by the exam (25%) and your work in the project (75%). Exam and projects are given a score between 0 (just passing) and 10 (max). Note that it is not only the result of the project work that counts but also the process of how you got there, the report, etc. The grade is often not be the same for all member in the project groups. It is fine if different group member have different leves of ambition, that will always be the case to some extent, you need to discuss this in the group openly to reduce friction. The mapping from score to grade is given by the table below