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“Software Components of the Thorvald II Modular Robot”

Authors: Lars Grimstad and Pål J. From,
Affiliation: Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Reference: 2018, Vol 39, No 3, pp. 157-165.

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Keywords: Modular robots, agricultural robots, mobile robots

Abstract: In this paper, we present the key software components of the Thorvald II mobile robotic platform. Thorvald~II is a modular system developed by the authors for creating robots of arbitrary shapes and sizes, primarily for the agricultural domain. Several robots have been built and are currently operating on farms and universities at various locations in Europe. Robots may take many different forms, and may be configured for differential drive, Ackermann steering, all-wheel drive, all-wheel steering with any number of wheels etc. The software therefore needs to be configuration agnostic. In this paper we present an architecture that allows for simple setup of never-seen-before robot configurations. The presented software is organized in a collection of ROS packages, made available to the reader. These packages allow a user to create her or his own robot configurations and simulate these robots in Gazebo using a provided plugin. Although the presented packages were created to be used with Thorvald robots, they may also be useful for people who are looking to develop their own robot and are interested in testing various robot configurations in simulation before settling on a specific design. To create a robot, the user lists modules with key parameters in one single configuration file and gives this as an input to the robot at startup. Example configuration files are provided within the packages. In this paper, we discuss key aspects of the ROS packages and provide directions on where to find updated information on how to install and use these.

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BibTeX:
@article{MIC-2018-3-2,
  title={{Software Components of the Thorvald II Modular Robot}},
  author={Grimstad, Lars and From, Pål J.},
  journal={Modeling, Identification and Control},
  volume={39},
  number={3},
  pages={157--165},
  year={2018},
  doi={10.4173/mic.2018.3.2},
  publisher={Norwegian Society of Automatic Control}
};

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