A typical service robot consists of a navigation module and an application module that provides service to the users.
The function of the navigation module is entirely dedicated to providing self-localization, map building/interpretation, and path planning. However, the function of the application module differs depending on how the service robot is used and requires customization.
The Intel® MSK modular design, therefore, consists of the following components:
- Main compute board that provides a cost-optimized base platform to enable the navigation module
- I/O expansion board that can be easily customized to support the I/O connectivity required by application modules to provide service
The main compute board provides the I/O connectivity that is required by the navigation module. The navigation module relies on a set of peripherals, such as LiDAR, depth cameras, and proximity sensors, to provide inputs for it to perform the self-localization and map building/interpretation functions.
The main compute board also provides connectivity to the motor controllers to move wheels or mechanical legs to navigate within its surroundings.
To reduce cost and to accommodate smaller service robots, the main compute board is based off a standard 3.5-inch form factor. However, it comes with optional onboard expansion modules that provide Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity to expand its usability.
System integrators have the option to integrate VPU (vision processing unit) and GPU (graphics processing unit) modules to support additional workloads. A 15 W Core i5 ULT CPU provides the best-in-class performance/wattage to be super-efficient while improving running hours on batteries.
The Intel® MSK Design’s I/O expansion board provides the I/O connectivity required by the application module to provide various services to end users. System integrators can easily customize the I/O expansion board to support a wide range of applications.
Additionally, a cable-based connector allows flexible positioning of the I/O expansion board to connect peripherals that reside far away from the main compute board.
The Platform I/O table outlines the I/O connectivity on both the main compute board and the expansion board.
Hardware Reference Design
Figure 3 provides a high-level specification of the Intel® MSK Design’s main compute board and I/O expansion board.
Figure 4 shows the actual photos of main compute board and I/O expansion board.
Figure 5 shows the mini SAS interconnection between the main compute board and I/O expansion board.
A cable-based connector allows flexible positioning of the I/O expansion board to connect peripherals that reside far away from the main compute board.
Main Compute Board
4x USB 2.0, 4x USB 3.0
5*UARTs COM1-RS232; COM2-TTL; COM3-5(TX, RX)
CAN & I2C
Controller Area Network and I2C serial communication protocol devices
I/O Expansion Board
PCIE 4X slot Co-lay with a MINI-PCIE
USB 2.0, USB 3.0