P11.16 Nuwanthika Fernando (Australian Astronomical Optics- Maquarie University)
Steering Starbugs- Routing Autonomous Fibre Positioners for TAIPAN
The Australian Astronomical Observatory's TAIPAN instrument deploys 150 Starbug robots to position optical bres to accuracies of 0.3 arcsec, on a 32 cm glass eld plate on the focal plane of the 1.2 m UK-Schmidt telescope. This poster describes the software system developed to control and monitor the Starbugs, with particular emphasis on the automated path-finding algorithms, and the metrology software which keeps track of the position and motion of individual Starbugs as they independently move in a crowded eld. The software employs a tiered approach to find a collision-free path for every Starbug, from its current position to its target location. This consists of three path-finding stages of increasing complexity and computational cost. For each Starbug a path is attempted using a simple method. If unsuccessful, subsequently more complex (and expensive) methods are tried until a valid path is found or the target is tagged as unreachable.