Project – UTM, Master Research 1998-2000

The Development Of Real-Time Control Firmware For A Wall Climbing Robot – A Small-Scale Embedded Hard Real-Time System

May 1998 – September 2000 (2 Years 5 Months)

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)
By Master ResearchProject


Software development for embedded real-time systems is very much different from the traditional data processing systems due to non-functional requirements such as dependability and timing. Special tools and appropriate methodologies are therefore highly desirable for the development of embedded real-time software. The main objective of this research is to study the software development process of a control firmware for a Wall-Climbing Robot (WCR), which is under development at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. The robot firmware requirement was studied, relevant issues and constraints identified, and finally specifications for the WCR firmware were derived and documented following the IEEE standard. Over sixty suitable real-time kernels (RTK) for use in firmware development were reviewed and compared, and criteria relevant to the WCR were suggested for assessing the suitability of the kernels. Three software engineering methodologies were studied in detail and their suitability were assessed for WCR firmware development. Based on the comparative study of the real-time software engineering methodologies, a hybrid methodology is proposed for WCR firmware development. Following the hybrid methodology and using a RTK, the control firmware for WCR was analysed, designed and implemented in C language. A hardware-in-the-loop simulation method is proposed and developed for testing the implemented firmware. From the test results it was found that by following the proposed hybrid method for developing the control firmware, a firmware that conformed to the requirements set could be developed successfully. The quality of the WCR control firmware reflects the effectiveness of the hybrid software engineering methodology and the software tools used in the methodology.