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Autonomous robotic wheelchairs are widely discussed in recent years. Most of autonomous robotic wheelchairs were developed based on rich computation architecture to deal with complicated navigation efforts such as personal computers or embedded computers. However, such rich computation architectures increase cost of robotic wheelchair when compared to conventional powered wheelchairs. At the same time, large amounts of energy consumptions, lower reliability, and inefficient size of personal computers reduce the practicability of robotic wheelchair. In this paper, we present a low cost solution to solve complicated wheelchair navigation problem based on distributed computing architecture. This solution is developed based on the programmable System-on-Chip (PSoC) computing and control architecture. The tasks within autonomous navigations are categorized into human machine interface, sensor collection, fuzzy logic based navigation functions, closed loop motion controller, and these tasks are individually implemented using the PSoC. Finally, the task oriented PSoC are integrated and fused to perform autonomous navigations of robotic wheelchairs. Consequently, the proposed PSoC based distributed computing architecture was successfully implemented and experimentally tested. The navigation results were verified using the results inferred from the personal computer based computing architecture.
Date of Conference: 7-10 Oct. 2007