View Full Version : FPGA-robot

01-03-2010, 12:01 AM
I like to build a robot with a FPGA. Are their samples or experians wits so a robot?

01-03-2010, 12:38 AM
Good thinking !!

FPGAs are the Industry choice for fast and reliable control. Microcontrollers are too slow and are used only for non-time critical applications. Recent advances in Robotics and AI have pitched the priorities for FPGAs as the most suitable control systems.
You need to know VHDL and its extended form - Verilog apart from C and Microprocessor theory. These are , unfortunately, the most neglected by students while they have their chance as undergraduates due to lack of teachers & / or bad teaching. While there are stand-alone FPGAs you may need a slave Microprocessor to load the control program.

Dont be scared of the huge stuff expected of you to handle the FPGA; it all boils down to certain basic requirements and they become easy in short time. The cost, too has fallen, making FPGAs affordable to the beginner/student.

There are quite a few FPGA projects (http://www.mcmanis.com/chuck/robotics/fpga/) online and a Google search will get you a lot of stuff. Many FPGA Robots (http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&rlz=1B3GGGL_enIN321IN321&num=100&newwindow=1&q=fpga+robotics&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=BJQ_S4G0EsuLkAXwv9TsCA&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&ct=title&resnum=4&ved=0CB8QqwQwAw#) have been built successfully too.

Buy the book FPGA Prototyping by VHDL Examples by Pong Chu, FPGA programming in C by David & Scott and read the Hows & whys.

Good Luck !!

01-03-2010, 12:40 AM
I like to build a robot with a FPGA. Are their samples or experians wits so a robot?

This is very vague ... give more details of what itll do , which series of FPGA do you have exp with ( altera , xilinx ) . Anything else which is relevant to the problem at hand.

01-03-2010, 01:05 AM
FPGA Robotics

Good thinking !!

I beg to differ , I never liked them and ill say that companies ask them to use them to inflate bills. I cant not go into details but where i work they swiped crores off the govt to build a under powered FPGA based solution which is a big mess acc to me. Why FPGA ... it was the in thing acc to these companies, and people fall for it.

1. The whole tool chain is expensive .
2. Almost 0 free support and ur all alone and mercy of these companies and TPSP.
3. Charge for everything , everything tightly licensed and controlled.
4. Hiring manpower quite difficult.
5. Longer turn around times.

I think 95 % people dont need one,but are pushed one by the companies as there is good money in FPGA's. Docel i would love if you can convince me for FPGA's .

The only real app i see is where very very high throughput are required which are not achievable by micrcontrollers, but here in india most people are not capable of delivering that and will give a sub standard system.

Maybe i love the uC's :) he he.

01-03-2010, 03:10 PM
Thanks for the replay docel and vikas.
For information:
I am using the MAXII board and the ALTERA DE1 board.
For the Robot the RD02 incl. MD25 dual 12 volt 2.8Amp. H Bridge Motor Drive.
2 EMG 30 gear motors with encoders
2 100 mm wheels.
The problem is how can i get a program and further information to build with this stuff a robot.

01-03-2010, 04:46 PM
Thats a good board....
Dont you have the CDrom for it?? It has all the Tutorials and stuff you need to get started and get along. You can build 5 ATMEGA128s on it...and have enough space for more....
Go through the Contents of the CDRom thoroughly. Sorry but I dont have it with me at the moment and have forgotten its contents.

I will Vikas I will !!!! Just you wait !!:cool:
BTW, what you say about those stupid Bozos is true...I know that story too well, too....:(

But....... FPGAs & Micros are the difference between driving your own car & travelling in the Train.
I can configure my trip how I want when I want with my car but am stuck with the restricted train.
More on that later on.:D

01-03-2010, 07:35 PM
I differ with the opinion about FPGAs that is prevalent in the previous posts. FPGAs are the defacto option being exercised in small military, industrial and commercial robots. Apart from providing unlimited multitasking capabilities, the ratio of system cost to features (especially in the case of robots) is quite favorable. FPGAs can be used with a combination of a soft-core processors (both Altera and Xilinx offer Power PC IPs), thereby eliminating the need to use any external processing source. A lot of larger commercial and industrial robots use PLCs or IPCs, but smaller and/or battery powered units generally use FPGAs.

Hope this helps the thread op to get some perspective.


Debu :)

01-03-2010, 07:48 PM
@debu - Yes FPGA's are very powerful, and where some real power is required they do well.

uC cant really compete ... but im not happy with how they are pushed and promoted.The Silver bullet for everything :) , and most people fall for it . The management deciding to use FPGA's to do simple jobs and running huge bills.