The previous two chapters explained the basics of the Microsoft Visual Programming Language (VPL) and showed how VPL can be used to read robot sensors and control robot actuators. Be sure that you are familiar with the material in Chapters 10 and 11 before reading this one. This chapter offers a few more examples that show how VPL can be used to solve a variety of problems. The examples use the Simulation Environment instead of actual robot hardware so that they are accessible to everyone. In most cases, they can be converted to run with actual hardware just by changing the manifest that is used.
Each example is independent of the others so feel free to dive in and devour a few or just take a bite from all of them.
The ExplorerSim service presented in Chapter 9 showed an example of a simulation scenario in which a robot explores its environment and avoids obstacles using its sensors. This type of orchestration service can also be implemented using VPL.
The VPLExplorer project in the
chapter12 directory shows an example of how this can be done with a simulated Pioneer3DX robot. This robot is the same one used in the Chapter 9 ExplorerSim service. It is popular for this type of algorithm because of its built-in laser range finder (LRF), which provides accurate distance measurements to obstacles around the robot. The main challenge in this scenario is processing all of the data coming from the LRF at the rate it is produced.
This VPL ...