feedback control, robot soccer, undergraduate education


One of the challenges in control engineering education is to motivate students to invest the effort necessary to understand the theoretical foundations of feedback control. We have found that many students are inherently interested in robotics and are attracted to control engineering when they understand that it plays a central role in robotic systems. To capitalize on this appeal, we have established a one semester robot soccer senior design course that uses the undergraduate feedback control course to introduce the prerequisite material. As a consequence, the undergraduate feedback control course and its lab have been redesigned to focus on mobile robots with a particular emphasis on techniques helpful in robot soccer. Robot soccer requires several applications of feedback control concepts. These include low level velocity control of the robots, trajectory tracking, trajectory generation, state estimation, and ball prediction. To enable the students to implement these concepts, several topics that are not traditionally taught in an undergraduate feedback control course must be introduced. These topics include mathematical models for mobile robots, feedback linearization, Kalman filtering, and path planning. This article gives a brief overview of our approach to introducing these topics at a level appropriate for undergraduates in electrical, computer, and mechanical engineering. We assume that the students have taken introductory courses in signals and systems and linear algebra.

Original Publication Citation

Randal W. Beard and James K. Archibald and Steven A. Olson, “Robot Soccer as a Culminating Design Project for Undergraduates,” American Control Conference, Anchorage, Alaska, May, 2002, p. 1086-1091.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

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Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


Electrical and Computer Engineering