Introduction

 

The Falcons is a team participating in the RoboCup Middle Size League (MSL) of autonomous soccer playing robots. All ~30 team members are ASML employees, who share the same passion. We develop the hardware, software and tools all within our team. ASML provides facilities and budget for parts, but the hours we spend are not counted as working hours.

 

We have our own facility in Veldhoven at De Locht (10 minutes from the main campus). Here we meet multiple evenings per week to design, improve and further develop our robots, and have the possibility to practice with the robots on our own soccer field. We regularly organize a practice match against the VDL-RobotSports team to check our progress and identify areas where we can improve further.

 

Typically we play two international tournaments per year; Our ultimate goal is to become world champion in the MSL!

 

 

 

 

Upcoming Challenges

 

Based on our current performance, we are developing a completely new hardware platform from scratch, have radically changed our vision system and are improving our software to be more flexible and robust. To be more agile on the field, we also want to achieve faster and higher-precision positioning and shooting.

 

One of the major challenges we tackled the last few years was the development of a new embedded hardware architecture to attain faster control and provide more diagnostic capabilities. This hardware architecture includes electronics to drive the new motors, sensors (e.g. IMU), shooter, user input (buttons) and user feedback (LEDs).

 

The hardware architecture is centred around a Beaglebone Black computer running Linux, that communicates to the main computer (which talks to the other robots, and runs vision and strategy algorithms) on one side, and to embedded hardware via on-board peripherals and motor controllers via EtherCAT on the other. A separate bare-metal microcontroller is still to be programmed to control the new coil-gun based shooter. An rpc API using ZeroMQ and Protocol Buffers is available to communicate to the aforementioned main computer and a diagnostics GUI application.

 

We are looking for people interested in Embedded Systems that like to contribute to:

  • Development (in low-level C/C++) of the STM32-based shooter board firmware
  • Set-up of a buildroot image for the Beaglebone black to improve latency
  • Improvements of the EtherCAT stack to make the motor communication more stable
  • Communication with the on-board IMU
  • Addition of a second Ethernet port to the BBB using a W5500 chip
  • Design and improvements to the motion control algorithms
  • Extensions of the CPU interface and diagnostics GUI application

 

Embedded Specialist Requirements

 

As an Embedded Specialist you should have some affinity with embedded systems, Linux and programming in C/C++. A willingness to learn is a must, experience with Linux kernel, EtherCAT, embedded peripherals (e.g I2C/SPI/UART), GTK+ is a plus. If you would like to program the shooter board, some experience with microcontrollers is preferable.

 

 

Expectations

 

The Falcons is a fun team working on complex, autonomous robots. We do not have a formal, “ASML-like” organization in place; we are all volunteers doing this as our hobby. This gives our members a lot of freedom, but also a lot of responsibility: when the match starts, the robots need to be ready to win!

 

Therefore we are looking for people that:

  • Are employed by ASML Fix or N1 Flex
  • Can make themselves available for at least 1 evening per week
  • Can work independently and are self-driven
  • Like to work on technical hobby projects in their spare time