Kansas State University – Polytechnic Campus

Robotics Programming Study Guide

The study guide will contain supplemental notes as needed.

This course provides an introduction to how to go about programming robots. The emphasis is on programming differential drive mobile robots. The course will have two fairly distinct phases. The first part deals primarily with working with embedded robotics controllers. This will mainly feature National Instruments controllers that are programmed using LabVIEW. The second part of the course will focus more on the algorithmic concepts of controlling mobile robots.

After a brief introduction to the field of robotics, the LabVIEW programming language will be studied. LabVIEW is a graphical, commercial programming environment from National Instruments. It is quite often used in robotics, instrumentation testing and certain types of industrial control applications. Since it is a data driven graphical programming environment, the experience is quite a bit different than programming with code driven textual languages, with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Once we know how to reliably control the robot and communicate with a drive station computer over the network, then we can focus more on the algorithms needed for the robot to autonomously perform interesting tasks. At this stage, most of the algorithmic code will run on drive station computer. This allows us to perfect the program using a simulator before trying it on a real robot. This also makes it much easier to debug programs.

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