This book presents a unique combination of mobile robots and embedded systems, from introductory to intermediate level. It is structured in three parts, dealing with embedded systems (hardware and software design, actuators, sensors, PID control, multitasking), mobile robot design (driving, balancing, walking, and flying robots), and mobile robot applications (mapping, robot soccer, genetic algorithms, neural networks, behavior-based systems, and simulation). The book is written as a text for courses in computer science, computer engineering, IT, electronic engineering, and mechatronics, as well as a guide for robot hobbyists and researchers.
It all started with a new robot lab course I had developed to accompany my robotics lectures. We already had three large, heavy, and expensive mobile robots for research projects, but nothing simple and safe, which we could give to students to practice on for an introductory course.
We selected a mobile robot kit based on an 8-bit controller, and used it for the first couple of years of this course. This gave students not only the enjoyment of working with real robots but, more importantly, hands-on experience with control systems, real-time systems, concurrency, fault tolerance, sensor and motor technology, etc. It was a very successful lab and was greatly enjoyed by the students. Typical tasks were, for example, driving straight, finding a light source, or following a leading vehicle. Since the robots were rather inexpensive, it was possible to furnish a whole lab with them and to conduct multi-robot experiments as well.