Mechanical systems for manufacturing in the past have represented monolithic, dedicated machines which remain expensive and inflexible relative to product changes due to market demands. It is the goal of the Robotics Research Group at the University of Texas at Austin (UTRRG) to develop a complete generalized modular architecture for intelligent machines (robots). This paper discusses the various issues involved in the design and selection of system controller hardware, servo controller hardware, real-time software, operating systems, and the software design methodologies. These constructs are required for the realization of a revolutionary, advanced intelligent flexible manufacturing system which offers the same success potential as that of a personal computer.

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