Design of Powered Floor Systems for Mobile Robots with Differential Evolution

posted Jan 7, 2019, 7:16 AM by Eric Medvet   [ updated Jan 7, 2019, 7:22 AM ]
  • 22nd European Conference on the Applications of Evolutionary Computation (EvoApplication), 2019, Leipzig (German), to appear
  • Eric Medvet, Stefano Seriani, Alberto Bartoli, Paolo Gallina
Mobile robots depend on power for performing their task. Powered floor systems, i.e., surfaces with conductive strips alternatively connected to the two poles of a power source, are a practical and effective way for supplying power to robots without interruptions, by means of sliding contacts. Deciding where to place the sliding contacts so as to guarantee that a robot is actually powered irrespective of its position and orientation is a difficult task. We here propose a solution based on Differential Evolution: we formally define problem-specific constraints and objectives and we use them for driving the evolutionary search. We validate experimentally our proposed solution by applying it to three real robots and by studying the impact of the main problem parameters on the effectiveness of the evolved designs for the sliding contacts. The experimental results suggest that our solution may be useful in practice for assisting the design of powered floor systems.