Graduate research

Simulation of urban traffic in presence of high-priority vehicles

Active: 
yes

This student project is motivated by the needs of a larger industrial research project that the AA4CC group is running since January 2018 jointly with a small hi-tech Brno-located company focused on automation in public transportation. The focus of the proposed project is on numerical simulations of urban traffic using existing opensource simulation packages.

In particular, after getting familiar with the existing traffic simulation packages (SUMO, Veins, VSimRTI, ...) and selecting the most suitable one, the goals of the project are to analyze the possibilities to simulate higher-priority vehicles  (fire brigade vehicles, ambulances, police) and analyze the observable impact of presence of these vehicles on the other traffic in the city.

Later we will build on top of this competence when modeling the trafic after the introduction of the wireless V2I (=vehice-to-infrastructure) or V2X (=vehicle-to-everything) communication schemes. Will these relieve the traffic jams significantly? Will the communication-based control schemes be robust enought? Does mistuing of these present a threat to the traffic? These will be the questions for which we will want to find answers using the simulations.

A related desirable competence is to be able predict the time of arrival of the selected high-priority vehicle to a particular intersection. This is certainly dependent on the current traffic density and thus is highly random. Still, some prediction could be attemted using some popular (or perhaps even some less well-known) estimation and prediction schemes.

The student applying for this position should be interested in the topic of intelligent transportation.  He or she should be good at high-level programming and eager to learn the mathematics behing traffic modeling.

Contact person: 
Zdeněk Hurák

Dynamic plotter

Active: 
yes

We are looking for a hardware platform suitable for presentation of trajectory optimization algorithms and your goal will be to build one. The platform will resemble a gantry crane or a pendulum on a cart with a variable length if you want. It will be attachable/detachable to a whiteboard and there will be a pen at the place where the hook normally is (or, at the end of the pendulum). The ultimate goal for the platform will be to draw a given curve on the whiteboard in the shortest possible time. Nevertheless, at first, we need you to build the platform for us. When we have the platform, you can also work on the control algorithms. If you like to build stuff this is an ideal project for you as you will have to design, make and assemble all the components (some inspiration can be taken from open-hardware designs of some 3D printers though).

Contact person: 
Martin Gurtner

Measuring position of micro-objects by machine learning algorithms

Active: 
yes

You will be developing algorithms for a sensor measuring positions of micro-objects in 3D. The sensor mainly consists of an image sensor capturing diffraction patterns encoding positions of some micro-objects. We have algorithms which can extract the positions from the diffraction patterns, but they are slow. We have some ideas how to make the algorithms faster by implementing them on a graphical card (GPU) and/or by approximating them by methods from machine learning. Your goal will be to explore these possibilities.

This topic will fit a student who is more into coding and applied mathematics as the work is more on the software side.

Contact person: 
Martin Gurtner

Experimental platform for distributed temperature control along a slender metal rod

Active: 
no

The main objective of this project is to design, build and program an experimental platform for distributed control of a temperature profile of a slender metal rod. The one-meter long aluminium rod will be equipped with some twenty heaters (transistors) and temperature sensors (Dallas DS18B20). These will be used to close feedback control loops to track a prescribed temperature profile.

A straightforward (albeit not necessarily optimal) approach to the work is just to upgrade one already existing platform using new hardware (see the list of student projects below).

The electronics for the system is required in a modular form. Each I/O module (of several modules) will serve a few sensors and actuators. One version of the electronics is currently being developed and is nearly ready for production. The student can jump in and have his or her imprint in the last minute. Alternatively, he or she can adopt the design and take care of production.

All the I/O modules will be connected to a single Raspberry Pi 3 (RPi) computer through a digital interface (such as I2C). RPi computer will be connected to an operator's PC running MATLAB. The role of RPi will be to gather the sensor measurements, deliver them to PC and execute control commands received from PC. The communication between the RPi and PC will be over WiFi or Ethernet. Programming of RPi should be done in C and Java programming languages.

The project is offered as a topic for bachelor thesis and master thesis with additional extension to control.

Related student projects in the past:

1.) Chris Rapson. Spatially distributed control: heat conduction in a rod. MSc diploma thesis, CVUT in Prague, 2008. [Online]
2.) Václav Klemš. Laboratorní model pro výzkum prostorově distribuovaného řízení. Bakalářská práce, ČVUT v Praze, 2008. [Online]
3.) Petr Cincibus. Programové vybavení pro experimentální platformu pro distribuované řízení teploty. Bakalářská práce, ČVUT v Praze, 2012. [Online]

Contact person: 
Štefan Knotek

Building a laboratory syringe pump

Active: 
no

The goal of this short-term project is to build a simple syringe pump which would work both independently and under control from a PC. Inspiration can be found in numerous do-it-yourself (DIY) projects on the web, such as http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Syringe-Pump-Using-Stepper-Motor/, http://www.instructables.com/id/3D-Printed-Syringe-Pump-Rack/ or https://hackaday.io/project/1838-open-syringe-pump. The actual work can be as simple as selecting suitable components (stepper motor, motor driver, possibly some microcontroller, screws, nuts, ...), downloading a suitable 3D design, introducing minor design modifications (if any), doing the actual 3D printing (we own the popular Ultimaker II printer) and assembling the stuff.

It is expected that the project will take no more than one or two months, hence the project is suitable for a student who already did some do-it-youself projects (this is not an educational projects, we just need the stuff badly).

The work will be financially very nicely rewarded.

The need for such equipment comes from our research in the domain of microfluidics and electrokinetics, see the description at http://aa4cc.dce.fel.cvut.cz/content/distributed-feedback-micromanipulat.... The interested student might find this project a nice opportunity to step into that fascinating research domain combining engineering and science.

Contact person: 
Zdeněk Hurák
Contact person: 
Jiří Zemánek

Building a Rijke tube

Active: 
no

The task is to build a laboratory experimental platform known as Rijke tube, which is used for experiments in thermo-acoustics. One particular setup is described in a journal paper by Epperlein, J.P., B. Bamieh, and K.J. Astrom. “Thermoacoustics and the Rijke Tube: Experiments, Identification, and Modeling.” IEEE Control Systems 35, no. 2 (April 2015): 57–77. doi:10.1109/MCS.2014.2384971 (see also https://engineering.ucsb.edu/~bamieh/talks/1211_SpongFest.pdf for some workshop slides). The platform will be used for education and research experiments in modeling, analysis and control of spatially distributed systems.

 

Contact person: 
Zdeněk Hurák

Distributed Control of Multi-Agent Systems for Estimating and Controlling Large-Scale Distributed Parameter Environments

Active: 
no

A position for one masters student is opened within the project 16-25493Y: Distributed Control of Multi-Agent Systems for Estimating and Controlling Large-Scale Distributed Parameter Environments. This position includes a salary up to 0.5 of the full-time.

The project deals with distributed actuation and sensing of realistic environments. Distributed multi-agent systems are an active field of research while their practical applications involve cooperatively solving tasks that are beyond the limited capabilities of any single-agent. Environments on the other hand are large-scale complicated systems, mostly described by distributed parameters. Taking the present-day concerns with environmental impacts of various industries and related human activities, developing versatile, robust, flexible systems that can monitor and control large-scale environments is of great interest.

One special instance is environments described by diffusion equations. Diffusion equation are ubiquitous, they model the conduction of heat, chemical reactions and diffusions, advection processes in the atmosphere, pollutant concentration, nuclear reactor statics and dynamics, to name just a few examples from sciences and technology. In our laboratory, we currently plan to tackle the heat diffusion systems. The work task planned for the offered position is the development of a distributed heating test-bed. Hardware is mostly available at the present, the test bed consisting of an aluminum rod and a set of heating elements. What requires to be done is an interface between the heating elements (transistors) together with their control circuitry and some data acquisition system that would allow experiments to be carried out with an aid of a computer. This being mostly a practical assignment, students applying for the position should have some prior experience in electronics and practical circuit design.

Contact person: 
Kristian Hengster...

Design of structured controllers for vehicular platoons

Active: 
no

In a vehicular platoon (a chain of vehicles with tight spacing), each car controls the distance to its neighbors. This distance is supposed to be quite short (meters in real applications). The vehicles can (or does not have to) share information among each other. In any case, the information should have only local nature, e. g. the nearest k neighbors. When the whole platoon is modeled as a single large-order dynamical system, the communication structure is reflected into the structure of the corresponding mathematical model of the system. Unfortunately, this structure is not preserved when standard off-the-shelf computational routines are called for a design of a controller for such systems. The goal of this thesis is therefore to test and evaluate several recent approaches for structured controller design for a vehicular platoon. These are mostly already implemented in software (open-source HIFOO function and commercial Hinstruct functions are notable examples).

The main constraint is that the controller should use only local information, that is the states or outputs of the neighboring vehicles. No global knowledge as in classical LQ control will be assumed. The algorithms will be tested in Matlab first, and then they can be applied to our slot-car testbed with several cars. The cars are equipped with Zigbee and Nordic communication interfaces.

Excellent students may be offered a part-time "assistant researcher" position either during the summer only or during the whole academic year.

Contact person: 
Ivo Herman

Event-triggered control for a platoon of vehicles

Active: 
no

In a platoon (or a chain) of a large number of highway vehicles controlled in a distributed way, each car typically shares information about its motion (such as measurements of its acceleration) only with its nearest neighbors; this sharing is done wirelessly. With most communication protocols there is one particular constraint on the wireless communication - when some other vehicles communicate, a given car cannot access the wireless media and therefore the channel utilization for one vehicle can be very low (say, 1/50 for a platoon with 50 cars). Hence it is desirable to reduce the need of each onboard controller to access the communication channel. This could be done by setting the frequency of periodic sampling less frequently, or by sampling (and sending) only when something significant happened. The latter approach is called event-triggered control. Within the platooning context, the access to the communication medium is required only when the acceleration has changed significantly or  when a car needs to brake or accelerate too much. Only then does the vehicle's controller inform its neighbors.

We have an experimental platoon of slotcar vehicles equipped with Zigbee and Nordic communication devices, on which the event-triggered controller can be tested in real-world. The work can be both theoretical or practical, depending on the student. The work can be both in Czech or English. If you are interested, please come to the office KN:E8 to discuss the possibilities of the thesis.

Excellent students may be offered a part-time "assistant researcher" position either during the summer only or during the whole academic year.

Contact person: 
Ivo Herman

CCD čip jako snímač polohy mikroobjektů

Active: 
no

Cílem projektu je experimentálně ověřit možnost využití standardního snímacího čipu CCD pro účely měření polohy mikroskopických objektů bez použití další optiky. Tento záměr je motivovaný výzkumem v oblasti bezkontaktní mikromanipulace pomocí elektrického pole tzv. dielektroforézy, kdy je možné pomocí mikroelektrod vytvářet takové elektrické pole, které rozpohybuje objekty o velikosti jednotek či desítek mikrometru ať už přírodního či umělého původu. Jde o slibný nástroj, který nachází uplatnění například v medicíně či analytické chemii při detekci, separaci, charakterizaci atp. Hlavní částí platformy pro manipulaci pomocí dielektroforézy je elektrodové pole, nad kterým dochází k vlastnímu pohybu objektů. Toto pole by se tedy vybavilo ze spodu ještě snímacím čipem, aby bylo možné sledovat pohybující se objekty.

Dílčími úkoly projektu by bylo zvolit vhodný čip pro tento účel, navrhnou vhodné mechanické řešení jeho umístění a najít také takové osvětlení, který by na čipu vytvořilo kvalitní obraz scény. Dále by byla práce orientována experimentálně především na srovnávání dat z CCD čipu s obrazem pořízeným pomocí běžné kamery. Po úspěšné realizaci snímací soustavy by projekt pokračoval návrhem metod pro zpracování dat z CCD senzoru, hlavně tedy získání polohy jednotlivých objektů.
 

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