MAX Platform Overview

Layered Software Model (picture to left) — the base MAX platform contains services for collecting data from sensors, fusing sensor data, decision-making, communications, and taking actions via controls.  This is the core of the robotic “sense-plan-act” and can perform any kind of robotic function.

The MAX-UGV (Unmanned Guided Vehicle) layer provides path and movement planning services suitable for any kind of ground vehicle or robot.  This layer includes 2-D path planning and routing services, support for different steering mechanisms such as skid steering or ackerman steering and obstacle detection and avoidance.

The MAX-Auto layer provides automotive maneuvers such as intersection handling, parking, traffic light detection and observation, merging on highways, round-abouts, following, and much more.

All of this capability is included within MAX as a reference platform that can be used as-is to deliver a robust mobile solution without any programming required.  MAX is highly configurable using text-based configuration files which define how sensor data is ingested, how movements should be made, how controls should be talked to and much, much more.

Rapid Development

MAX is designed to support higher-level programming models and also support fast integration of existing code or other product libraries you may want to use for your solution.  Our platform offers choice, not lock-in to a specific model.

The optional MAX development user interface enables configuration of new autonomous systems in minutes. Use our graphical interface to drag your sensors and control systems from the provided library, edit as needed, and drop it on your vehicle. Connect sensors and actuators together and build your runtime.

Flexible

MAX includes all required functions out of the box, but you can quickly insert your own custom algorithms and logic into MAX. This preserves your investments in your current software and allows you to leverage your expertise or investment. MAX’s layered architecture and robust APIs give you the flexibility to pick and choose what MAX will do and what parts you want to do yourself.

Further, MAX is designed to operate either on a single processor or distributed among a range of processors or cores.  This is configurable to allow you to use a simple solution on a lower-end unit and then scale up to a more complex solution across multiple processors while leveraging code across both solutions.

Simulation Capability

PRI offers an optional physics simulator toolkit that allows you to test your autonomous vehicle under real-world conditions including sun, rain, and darkness. Pedestrians, other vehicles, intersections of any kind can be simulated, and our platform MAX doesn’t know if it’s in a vehicle or the simulator.

Real-world testing is still required, but our simulator solution reduces development cycles and cost by allowing your team to test quickly and safely from their office. You can use the same hardware as in the vehicle, or on more convenient platforms like laptops.

Running Quickly

As noted above, our platform will allow you to drive your vehicle via configuration of sensors and controls without the need to write a single line of code.  For example, for one major auto maker, we had their CAN commands and installed our GPS solution on their car and had the car self-driving in one morning from arrival of car to complete self-navigation.

MAX handles all the critical operating functions including logging, security, and system management so you don’t have to.  You just focus on what you want the vehicle to do.

RELIABLE, PROVEN

MAX has operated in real-time environments for over 15 years and has been tested with all major real-time operating systems.  Today’s MAX software has it’s roots in the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge and the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge which were fully autonomous vehicles.

MAX was built as a production grade system from the start and has a provable safety model. MAX is the one solution that works from the test bench to the test track to the manufacturing line without ever needing a rewrite.

Knowledgeable Support

With experienced, high quality autonomous engineers in short supply, you may want some help as you staff up your team. Perrone Robotics’ services team is there to help fill in any gaps in expertise or we assist you to implement an entire solution to your specs.

We have projects that range from small personal robots to ATVs to forklifts to automobiles to trucking to the world’s largest Mining truck – all running on the same platform: MAX.

Technical Requirements

The goal of the MAX platform is to enable your work, not restrict you.  As such, MAX runs on a wide range of operating systems and supports both soft and hard real-time environments.  Our soft real-time support is very good, and of course hard-real-time meets all deadlines as designed.  Does your code have to change?  No.

You need to pick the HW platform needed for the amount of sensor processing you’re doing and for your power profile.  Note that we have (as a demo/example) run an automobile running GPS localization, 2 lidars and radars performing obstacle detection and avoidance – all on a Raspberry Pi ($39).  More rigorous and production environments will need more.  If you’re performing simple tasks using only MAX Common functions, you can run on Java ME on a smaller processor/memory footprint.

Listed below are some common requirements:

  • HW: Intel x86, x64 single or multi-core; ARM v5/6/7/8 – typically Cortex A series
    • We can run on and across multiple instances of whatever hardware makes sense for your application
  • OS: Non-real-time applications:
    • Linux: Ubuntu, Suse, Red Hat, Wind River
  • OS: Development:
    • Windows 7, 8, 10, Java SE embedded runs on Linux kernel 2.6.28 or higher
    • OS X
    • Note that non-RT applications run fine on laptops for testing – even larger vehicles if you’re using a safety driver
  • Real-Time requirements (for JamaicaVM – hard real-time VM – our standard RT environment)
    • Wind River VxWorks (x86, ARM, PPC)
    • Windows x86
    • Linux x86, ARM, PPC
  • Helpful links:

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