What do we learn? You will become very knowledgable about Mobile Robotics in general and the Robot Operating System (ROS) in particular. Mobile Robotics is a very hot and interesting area (the Boston area is the silicon valley of robotics). It is the area of robotics that deals with robots that move around. (For example, the ones that build cars don’t move around, but the ones that deliver packages do.) The problems of Mobile Robotics are: Localization (where am I), Navigation (how do I get to where I need to be), Planning and operation (how do I do what I need to do.) We will tackle each of these in the class.
What are the prerequisites? We require that you have completed and done well in Cosi21a and that you have completed at least one additional Cosi programming course successfully. While we work in Python, if you are good in Java or Ruby or some other language that is acceptable. Mostly you need to be very comfortable programming because the expecations and challenges are significant.
When, where and how? The class meets twice a week in a classroom, and once a week in the lab. While there are a maximum of 20 students in the course, there will be two sections of lab with a maximum of 10 students each. There will be homework and a final project. Most of the work and learning will happen in the lab at other times. You should assume a minumum of 15 hours per week. A lot of self-study, independent work, self-management.
What is the Robotics Lab? We have a Robot lab where we will hold the class, and that you will have access to 24x7. It is where the Robots live so if you need to do live testing that’s where you will do it. The lab is in the basement of GZang. Go go GZang 124 and keep walking to the glass door. The Robotics Lab is down there.
What language do we work in? What is ROS? ROS is a very cool distributed operating system that runs on as a layer top of Linux. It’s pretty complicated and we will be spending a lot of time with it. Our programming will mostly be in Python although C++ is also there if you prefer it. It is by far the most common environment for robotics software used in academia and the commercial world. In case you end up working with Robots in the future you can almost count on it being with ROS.