June 1, 2011 -- Designers of robot control systems are being pushed to provide better performance and more features, all while meeting tight deadlines and keeping costs down. As these demands grow, traditional design and verification methodologies are falling short.
In a traditional design flow, designers are not able to determine if their controller works until late in the design effort, when the robot is available. This approach was often sufficient for systems developed in years past. System behavior was predictable, and the simplicity of the control scheme minimized opportunities for error. When problems did occur, they could often be solved by tuning the controller during verification.
With today's multi-domain mechatronics systems, however, this process is no longer sufficient. As system complexity grows, the potential for errors and suboptimal designs increase. When design problems show up in the verification stage, they require difficult, costly changes that often include time-consuming hardware fixes.
In addition, the growing complexity of mechatronics control systems makes it difficult to test all the corner cases in a design. Indeed, for many systems it is impractical or even dangerous to test the full operating envelope on a production robot. For these systems, traditional verification methods simply don't work.
Leading system designers have recognized these challenges and are adopting early verification with model-based design. This approach allows engineers to simulate the physical robot alongside the control algorithms and logic. Early verification allows designers to:
- Quickly evaluate a variety of control strategies and optimize system behavior.
- Catch errors early, before robot hardware is available.
- Use simulation to test the full operating envelope.
- Reuse models for real-time testing.
By Brian McKay. (McKay is a Product Marketing Manager, MathWorks, Inc.)
This brief introduction has been excerpted from the original copyrighted article.
View the entire article on the Electronic Products Magazine website.
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