They develop a free simulator for mobile robot navigation

A research team from the University of Almería has created a new system that reduces costs and times in the production of autonomous vehicle prototypes. It includes various configuration possibilities such as simultaneous location, independent navigation and direction control.

Researchers from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics of the University of Almería.

A research team from the University of Almería has created a simulator to accelerate the development process in the commercialization of new robots. With a greater capacity to include diverse parameters and variables, the system is proposed as an improved solution for research and development in mobile robotics and autonomous vehicles.

The platform is built on open source and is available for free to anyone who wants to use it in their developments and research in The experts define the architecture, the design model used and the functionalities of the program in the article ‘MultiVehicle Simulator (MVSim): Lightweight dynamic simulator for mobile robotics and multi-agent research‘ published in the magazine SoftwareX.

In addition, the system is supported on any operating system, including Windows and iOS, allowing it to be applied on any existing architecture. “The plurality of possibilities of the new software provides researchers and developers with the ability to configure any scenario that can be thought of for the creation of automated vehicles or robots,” the researcher from the University of Almería tells the Discover Foundation. Jose Luis Blancoauthor of the article.

All the tests carried out improve the results of other simulators on the market, which proposes it as the ideal tool for the analysis and design of mobile robots before transferring it to real environments. The variety that the software allows means the reduction of costs and times in the manufacture of this type of vehicles and the expansion of the possibilities in the studies and development of new control and management tools.

Create situations to make more efficient robots

Called MVSim, the system replicates the actions of one or more vehicles to observe their movements, collisions, analyze the friction of the wheels with the ground and couple different sensors or cameras. In addition, simulations can be carried out in real time or marking other defined times, accelerating the process to analyze different situations more quickly.

The simulator allows the creation of different worlds, with furniture or obstacles that are defined. The type of floor or the size of the wheels is also configured to analyze the friction that occurs, as well as the different types of possible movements.

The simulator can replicate functions such as simultaneous vehicle localization, autonomous navigation and steering control.

The published repository includes simulation examples, such as that of several robots acting simultaneously in a greenhouse in which they can have a multitude of functions such as fumigation or collection.

Compared to existing simulators, MVSim defines the scenario and the robot without requiring much training or effort, which reduces replication times and allows students and researchers to obtain results with more accuracy and quality. The team continues its work on improving the simulators applied to robotics at both the computational, graphical and estimation calculation levels.

The work has been financed through the projects ‘Agricultural collaborative robot inside the IOT (AGRICOBIOT I)’ of the University of Almería’s own plan and ‘Agricultural collaborative robot inside the IOT (AGRICOBIOT II)’ of the Department of University, Research and Innovation of the Junta de Andalucía, together with the Google Open Source Programs Office (OSPO).

Text and photo source: Discover Foundation.

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