Autonomous Systems

Design, develop, and test autonomous systems with MATLAB

Welcome to the Autonomous Systems Blog!

With robots delivering packages, driverless robo-taxis showing up for the rides and humans co-working with machines, we are imagining to add autonomy in almost all the repetitive tasks and focusing more on the creative and critical aspects of the jobs. With this motivation, the autonomous systems group at MathWorks is starting this blog page to share the exciting developments in the robotics and autonomous systems space with the power of MATLAB and Simulink.

What to expect from this blog?

While our coffee is being made autonomously, we will be spending our creative energies to bring new posts every month that will include –

  • Code examples and workflows for robotics technologies
  • A series on using MATLAB and Simulink with real robots
  • Tutorials from guest bloggers on foundational robotics concepts
  • What’s new from MathWorks in robotics and autonomous systems
  • Industry and application trends

This blog aims to cover these common challenges seen in a typical autonomous system workflow

Meet the Authoring Team – Mihir Acharya and YJ Lim

Who is Mihir?

I am a Technical Product Manager at MathWorks supporting software tools that help engineers and researchers to build autonomous navigation solutions for platforms such as UAVs, ground robots and self-driving cars.

My journey with MATLAB started during bachelor’s course when I decided to learn how to build a self-balancing inverted pendulum. After applying a lot of textbook equations into the simulation, our team was amazed to find that we can auto-tune the PID gains using a built-in feature in MATLAB. This saved us time on the tuning part and spend more towards experimenting with the pendulum’s response on external forces and noise. Further, I used MATLAB heavily in my internship at Omron to develop GUIs for analyzing path planning output for mobile robots.

At the time I was using Robotics System Toolbox for a course on robot dynamics during my master’s program, I never imagined that I’d go to the other side of the table and support the development of these products with an awesome team. In 2018, I joined MathWorks as a Product Marketing Engineer and helped with building engaging robotics demos such as breaking a foam board with a robot arm to demonstrate the importance of safety. This was the first time when I learnt the workflow to integrate MATLAB with real robots! And my goal with this blog is to share these learnings.

Who is YJ?

I met MATLAB for the first time when I was at KAIST in 1992 studying for my master’s, working on noise and vibration control. This meant lots of signal processing, FFT, and modal analysis were involved. MATLAB helped me handle messy time-frequency signal analysis to detect noise sources from laundry machines and to analyze the vibration problems of automotive engine room. 30 years later, I am now working at MathWorks with the best team of robotics software engineers, strategizing long-term plan to help our customers for their real problems, and managing robotic products.

MATLAB User’s Guide (1992) from YJ’s bookshelf

I, personally, like human-safe mechanisms since I studied medical devices with haptics for my Ph.D. and I based my startup on the technology of compliant actuators to perform the safe interaction between robots and humans. The robot I prototyped had various forms of soft actuators, but they were strong enough to help patients (NIH projects), dispose explosive bombs (Army projects), and handle submarine sensors (Navy projects).

By coincidence, one of my current projects helps our toolbox to make the development of collaborative robots (or Cobots) applications easy. And I have been a featured speaker at a recent robotics tradeshow (Automate) and conference (RoboBusiness). I discussed about an intelligent bin picking Cobot that incorporates autonomous algorithms and AI solution using MATLAB and Simulink.

Through this blog Mihir and I want to share how MATLAB helps your robotics and autonomous systems projects, and we want to gather your thoughts on everything autonomy!

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