Hardware Implementation of Soft Computing Approaches for an Intelligent Wall-following Vehicle
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Soft computing techniques are generally well-suited for vehicular control systems that are usually modeled by highly nonlinear differential equations and working in unstructured environment. To demonstrate their applicability, two intelligent controllers based upon fuzzy logic theories and neural network paradigms are designed for performing a wall-following task and an autonomous parking task. Based on performance and flexibility considerations, the two controllers are implemented onto a reconfigurable hardware platform, namely a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). As the number of comparative studies of these two embedded controllers designed for the same application is limited in the literature, one of the main goals of this research work has been to evaluate and compare the two controllers in terms of hardware resource requirements, operational speeds and trajectory tracking errors in following different pre-defined trajectories. The main advantages and disadvantages of each of the controllers are presented and discussed in details. Challenging issues for implementation of the controllers on the FPGA platform are also highlighted. As the two controllers exhibit benefits and drawbacks under different circumstances, this research suggests as well a hybrid controller scheme as an attempt to integrate the benefits of both control units. To evaluate its performance, the hybrid controller is tested on the same pre-defined trajectories and the corresponding results are compared to that of the fuzzy logic and the neural network based controllers. For further demonstration of the capabilities of the wall-following controllers in other applications, the fuzzy logic and the neural network controllers are used in a parallel parking system. We see this work to be a stepping stone for further research work aiming at real world implementation of the controllers on Application Specified Integrated Circuit (ASIC) type of environment.