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Bethune-Cookman University Receives Federal Grant to Outfit Robotics Lab

September 16, 2008

Today, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) announced that is has been awarded a $223,000 grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to purchase robotics equipment for the institution's Robotics and Embedded Systems Research Laboratory (RESRL). The grant was awarded through NSF's Major Research Instrumentation program which helps colleges and universities purchase scientific equipment needed to conduct research and enhance student learning.

The funding will be used to purchase four sets of Pioneer 3-AT mobile robot systems and 10 AmigoBot mobile robots. Both types of robots are manufactured by MobileRobots Inc., a leading provider of intelligent mobile bases and autonomous navigation systems. The Pioneer 3-AT systems and AmigoBot are used for academic and research applications by institutions including Stanford University, the SRI Artificial Intelligence Center, and many Defense Department research grantees.

At B-CU, the mobile robots will be used in faculty and student research that focuses on developing new ways to program networked robotic equipment to adapt and perform in partially known, changing or unpredictable environments. B-CU researchers will apply innovative approaches that go beyond the fairly simple scenarios commonly involved in this field of research. The results of this research will have immediate real-world applications in industry for factory-floor automation, large scale sensor networks for environmental sampling, and search and information acquisition in hazardous environments.

In addition, the B-CU computer science & engineering department will use the networked robot systems for course study and research in the areas of sensor networks, microcontroller and wireless communication. Students from the environmental science and biology programs will have access to the equipment for study and research in the areas of environmental sampling. An estimated 40 engineering students, 47 computer science students and 35 environmental science and biology students will be involved in research that uses the mobile robot systems. The equipment will also be available to summer science programs at B-CU to help motivate young learners to pursue college studies in science, technology and math.

Overseeing the grant award and robotics research are three B-CU faculty: Dr. Morrison Obeng, department chair, computer science & engineering; Dr. Jing Wang, assistant professor of computer science & engineering; and, Dr. Xiaohe Wu, assistant professor of computer science & engineering. Recent publications by these faculty members include:

  • J. Wang, M. Obeng and X. Wu, "Adaptive NN stabilization of uncertain nonholonomic mechanical systems," accepted by the 2nd International Symposium on Systems and Control in Aerospace and Astronautics, 10-12 December, 2008, Shenzhen, China.
  • J. Wang and M. Obeng, "A distributed recursive cooperative control systems for networked nonlinear systems with limited communications", to be submitted to the IASTED International Conference on Intelligent Systems and Control (ISC 2008), Orlando, November 16 - 18, 2008.
  • X. Wu, M. Obeng, J. Wang and T. Yang, "Comparison Study of Three Types of Temperature Sensors Suitable for Embedded System Applications", 2008 International Conference on High Performance Computing, Networking and Communication Systems (HPCNCS-08), Orlando, Florida, USA, July 2008.

Office of Institutional Advancement

Liz Poston
PH: 386-481-2950

About Bethune Cookman University:

Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement.  B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000.  For more information, visit

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