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The University of Southampton
EngineeringPostgraduate study

Autonomous Systems Facility

An Autonomous Systems Laboratory has been developed to construct an Earth-based facility suitable for the testing of advanced control systems and the validation of methods sought to be applied in a space environment. With the support of an EPSRC grant, a facility was constructed to serve this purpose: the Autonomous Sytems Testbed.

Primarily the testbed provides a 5DoF (roll, pitch, yaw, y translation, x translation) test arena for the implementation of advanced decision, navigation and control methods required within autonomous systems. The facility also permits testing of processing and communication electronics in a ground environment as well as hardware in the loop testing.

The facility has been extended such that it may also be used for AGV experimentations within an urban environment. The Autonomous Ground Vehicle (AGV) is a steered, wheel based platform on which numerous sensor systems are mounted. Visual information is used in conjunction with ultrasonic range finders to perform autonomous motion within an urban ground environment.

Its applications include spacecraft simulation and the facility can:

(1) Provide a design environment that can investigate the feasibility of formation control solutions under given hardware limitations.

(2) To provide fuel efficient solutions to formation flying spacecraft

(3) To implement reliable autonomous control systems on board of a cluster of satellites

(4) To provide intensive low cost, low risk  testing of control hardware and software on a dedicated facility

Autonomous systems design
Autonomous Ground Vehicle (AGV) is a steered, wheel based platform on which numerous sensor systems are mounted
AGV
Southampton scientists develop control system to allow spacecraft to think for themselves
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