FPGA Components for Integrating FPGAs into Robot Systems

Takeshi OHKAWA  Kazushi YAMASHINA  Hitomi KIMURA  Kanemitsu OOTSU  Takashi YOKOTA  

Publication
IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E101-D   No.2   pp.363-375
Publication Date: 2018/02/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1361
DOI: 10.1587/transinf.2017RCP0011
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Reconfigurable Systems)
Category: Emerging Applications
Keyword: 
FPGA,  component-oriented development,  ROS,  ROS-compliant FPGA component,  robot,  

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Summary: 
A component-oriented FPGA design platform is proposed for robot system integration. FPGAs are known to be a power-efficient hardware platform, but the development cost of FPGA-based systems is currently too high to integrate them into robot systems. To solve this problem, we propose an FPGA component that allows FPGA devices to be easily integrated into robot systems based on the Robot Operating System (ROS). ROS-compliant FPGA components offer a seamless interface between the FPGA hardware and software running on the CPU. Two experiments were conducted using the proposed components. For the first experiment, the results show that the execution time of an FPGA component for image processing was 1.7 times faster than that of the original software-based component and was 2.51 times more power efficient than an ordinary PC processor, despite substantial communication overhead. The second experiment showed that an FPGA component for sensor fusion was able to process multiple sensor inputs efficiently and with very low latency via parallel processing.