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Autonomous systems testbed

The Autonomous Systems test bed is a state-of-the-art facility used to test advanced control systems as well as verify methods and ideas which can then be applied in Space.  It was built with support from EPSRC.

The testbed is a 5 degrees of freedom (DoF) arena where model satellites can be deployed and their advanced decision, navigation and control systems can be tested.  The facility can also be used to test processing and communication electronics in ground equipment and to perform hardware in the loop testing.

The facility consists of a glass table with a metal frame and isolation curtains to prevent any interference from outside of the test environment.  Special markers above the table can be used for advanced visual tracking.  The satellites are free to move around with 2DoF movement in translation and 3DoF movement in rotation.  They can be fitted with various sets of hardware including sensors, actuators, power systems, thrusters, propellers, reaction wheelers and processors. 

The facility can also be used for testing autonomous ground vehicles (AGVs) by covering the glass table and putting up an unmapped urban environment.

For more information about this unique facility see the Autonomous Systems Facility webpage which includes videos of the satellites moving around the testbed.

Testing on the glass table
Satellite control systems
One of the AGVs used at Southampton for testing vehicle autonomy and control systems
Autonomous Ground Vehicle (AGV)

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