Friday, November 30, 2018

2018-11-30: Improvements Made to the Autonomy Incubator Flight Area!

Riggers came to help put up the new monitors!

B1230, the new location of our very own Autonomy Incubator, has been undergoing some fun home renovations!  The flight area has had a few changes, and we could not be more excited about it!

Since our mid-summer move, we have had four monitors on the back wall, but monitors five and six have finally joined the family!  Now, we are able to display the simulated versions of live tests to an even greater extent.

Because each monitor weighs several hundred pounds apiece, we had the help of riggers to hoist the monitors to their rightful home.

The final display!

Along with the new additions, the floor has also been bead blasted in preparation for the "flat floor" installation. We're expecting the new floor to be finished in January.

Our floor has had some work as well.

We are ecstatic about finalizing the area and look forward to running more tests again soon.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

2018-11-21: Autonomy Incubator Welcomes New Team Member Sherif Shazly

Sherif Shazly, the newest addition to the Ai team.

Last week, the Autonomy Incubator welcomed the newest addition to our team, Sherif Shazly!

Sherif received his Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University.  After continuing his education, he recently received his Master's in Robotics from the University of Maryland, College Park in May.

Currently, Sherif is working as a Robotics Software Developer/Engineer at the Ai on the In-Space Assembly project.  He is creating a simulation of the set-up pictured below in Gazebo, which is used with ROS (Robot Operating System), the standard framework for writing robot software.

The robotic arm is able to pick up the trusses and move them to separate

"In the simulation environment, you can test out these algorithms so that you don't have to risk these expensive robots," he explained.  He is currently getting everything ready for a special demo that is coming up next month!

In summary, the In-Space Assembly project asserts the idea that robots can be used to move and assemble trusses autonomously.  Right now, we are doing it on a smaller scale, but the ultimate goal, of course, would be to have this set-up in space.  The process is well-explained in a previous blogpost here, showcasing a previous intern, Chase Noren's, work.

Sherif and Walter Waltz, another Ai team member who is also working on the project, have many goals for the future.  This includes the addition of cameras for autonomous environmental detection, as well as adding optimal controllers for force control.  They also want to "improve our motion planning techniques with more complicated controllers."

Sherif and Walter Waltz are both working on the In-Space Assembly project.

We are very happy to have Sherif join our team and are looking forward to see how their research progresses.  Welcome aboard!