Student: Dhruva Gole
Mentors: Jason Kridner
GSoC: GSoC entry
About your project
Project name: librobotcontrol support for BeagleBone AI
This project is currently just a proposal.
BeagleBone gets used a lot in automation tasks, be they in industrial, building, home or otherwise. Software that helps enable individual hobbyists, but can bridge into professional automation tasks, is strongly desired.
The Robot Control Library package contains the C library and example/testing programs for the Robot Control project. This project began as a hardware interface for the Robotics Cape and later the BeagleBone Blue and was originally called Robotics_Cape_Installer. It grew to include an extensive math library for discrete time feedback control, as well as a plethora of POSIX-compliant functions for timing, threads, program flow, and lots more, all aimed at developing robot control software on embedded computers.
- This project will enable the control of the Beaglebone's PRUs using remoteproc and rpmsg driver rather than using uio drivers. The PRU is a dual core micro-controller system present on the AM335x SoC which powers the BeagleBone. It is meant to be used for high speed jitter free IO control. Being independent from the linux scheduler and having direct access to the IO pins of the BeagleBone Black, the PRU is ideal for offloading IO intensive tasks.
The library and example programs are primarily written in C, and has been well tested on the BeagleBone Blue.
- Why to port it to the BeagleBone AI?
- Built on the proven BeagleBoard.org® open source Linux approach, BeagleBone® AI fills the gap between small SBCs and more powerful industrial computers. Based on the Texas Instruments AM5729, developers have access to the powerful SoC with the ease of BeagleBone® Black header and mechanical compatibility. BeagleBone® AI makes it easy to explore how artificial intelligence (AI) can be used in everyday life via the TI C66x digital-signal-processor (DSP) cores and embedded-vision-engine (EVE) cores supported through an optimized TIDL machine learning OpenCL API with pre-installed tools. Focused on everyday automation in industrial, commercial and home applications.
- It uses the Dual Arm® Cortex®-A15 microprocessor subsystem and further specs can be found on the official website
What I like most about librobotcontrol, is that it allows new users to get a very intuitive hardware interface for the board it is being used on. Currently it only supports Robotics Cape and the BeagleBone Blue and Black. But with the evolution of AI on the edge, porting this library to be used onboard the BeagleBone® AI will prove to be very useful to a lot of hardware enthusiasts, AI/ML developers and hobbyists to deploy edge computing solutions along with easy to program hardware.
- Features to be implemented
- Port this package to support the BeagleBone® AI.
- Port all the existing examples to run on BeagleBone® AI.
- Add the necessary docs on librobotcontrol website .
Details of implementation
- Port this library to support the BeagleBone® AI.
- The BeagleBone® Blue lacks TI C66x digital-signal-processor (DSP) cores and embedded-vision-engine (EVE) cores which the AI board has. This enables machine learning tools to be integrted with a device capable of programmable hardware IOs. However it still lacks a proper hardware interface which is where the need to provide librobotcontrol support comes in.
- The beaglebone AI has many programmable PRU General-Purpose Output and Input pins as give on https://github.com/beagleboard/beaglebone-ai/wiki/System-Reference-Manual#detailed-hardware-design device docs page]
- Implement a library to simplify tasks like writing to a pin, reading from a pin, delay, accessing memory.
- Port all the existing examples to work on beagle AI.
- Reimplement stock examples in librobotcontrol repository
- I intend to port as many examples as the board can support using it's hardware to the examples directory.
|May 17||Proposal accepted or rejected||Community Bonding Period and discussion on the project and resources available.|
|Jun 07||Pre-work complete||Coding officially begins!|
|June 17||Milestone #1||
|June 24||Milestone #2||
|June 30||Milestone #3||
|July 12 -July 16 18:00 UTC||Milestone #4 (Phase 1 evaluations)||
|July 23||Milestone #5||
|July 30||Milestone #6||
|Aug 06||Milestone #7||
|August 10 August 16 - 26 18:00 UTC||Milestone #8 (Phase 2 evaluations)||
|August 23 - 30 18:00 UTC||Mentors submit final student evaluations|
Experience and approach
I have decent experience in C++, C and Python. I have done several projects involving embedded systems like ESP32, I well-versed with freeRTOS. I recently did a project on ESP32, in which I used ESP to control and plot PID loop running on the embedded device, plotting the values on a python GUI. Other than that I have developed firmware for a 3 DOF arm based on a ESP32 custom board. I did a internship with a embedded deviced startup, where I built:
- Built TCP network stack for embedded IoT Devices
- Implemented Synchronous TCP server using Boost.Asio(C++) and Boost.Thread(C++)
- Implemented a tool to calculate round trip time(RTT) of tcp packets
I actively contribute to open source and do a lot of mini projects throughout the year, you can find my several more interesting projects at my github page
I believe that if I get stuck on my project and my mentor isn’t around, I will use the resources that are available to me. Some of those information portals are listed below.
- https://processors.wiki.ti.com/index.php/PRU_Training:_Hands-on_Labs PRU Guide
- https://markayoder.github.io/PRUCookbook/ Mark Yoder's cookbook is a excellent guide
- Derek Molly's beagle bone guide provides all the information needed for getting up and running with my beagle.
- The technical reference manuals provided by TI on am3358 and am5729 are the best source
- Processor SDK Linux Software Guide is a good reference material
- sysfs remoteproc class documentation
- The reason I have been pushing is because I understood remoteproc loading is to have better support in mainline, and that means longer-term support for the community
- -Jason Kridner