Course syllabus

Special instructions due to Covid-19

(originally sent out to all students of the course, but we still have more students joining us)

We have been ordered from the Chalmers management to run courses remotely instead of in class. We will therefore have NO lectures in the class room, including any lab work, but we will provide ALL teaching remotely. This is a big change for us since we normally rely quite much on hardware in the course, but I am confident that our current plan will work quite well.

The layout of the course, including group work, will stay as planned. The only difference is that you will need to conduct your group work through Zoom, Skype, or any other service. All lectures will be video recorded and posted on Canvas. We will also provide you with a simulation environment where you can solve the project tasks in the groups. It a lot of new material that needs to be generated in a very short time frame, so please help us with constructive feedback and also stay patient if some parts will not be perfect.

I will outline the details in the introduction lecture that will be released on Canvas.

The bottom line is: The course will run as normal, but instead of class rooms we turn to digital aids for communication. Our goal is to bring a lot of new knowledge to you, and we ask for your help to bring this knowledge not only to yourself but also to your peers. If we work together we will make this a nice experience for everyone!

Find Chalmers official guidelines here:

NOTE: You are urged to NOT travel at this point, and for the teaching we are expecting you to be around, even if we give the courses remotely.


TME290 Autonomous robots lp4 (7.5 hp)

The course is offered by the department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences

Contact details

Please contact the course staff for any further questions about the teaching or course subjects. If a meeting is required, please make contact by email to request an appointment (during office hours).

Examiner and lecturer

Ola Benderius, 031-772 2086,

Course assistants

Luca Caltagirone,
Responsible for lab work and robot hardware.

Björnborg Nguyen,
Responsible for some home problems and lab work.

Study administrator

Sonja Laakso-Gustafsson, 031-772 3637,

Course purpose

The course aims at giving the students an understanding of design principles for autonomous systems, both robots and software agents, and also gives students the opportunity to apply their knowledge in practice through the construction of a industry-relevant autonomous robot.



Course literature

Lecture notes, video lectures, source code templates, and handouts. The material will be made available via the course web page.

Course design

The course consist of lectures, home problems, and a project. In the lectures the main theories of autonomous robots are covered, which will provide the students with a broad overview of the subject area. Furthermore, the students are expected to apply the knowledge from the lectures in the project and in the home problems.

The project part of the course consist of lab sessions with supervision by teachers, targeting a final robot demonstration as a goal, including several sub-goals. The students are expected to carry out some project work outside class hours. The projects should be carried out in teams of 3-4 students per group.

Moreover, there are mandatory home problems that has to be carried out individually by each student. Both the project part and the individual homework part contribute to the student’s final grade on the course. Please see further details regarding assessment and grading below.

Lab sessions will take place in the Robotics lab located in the Mechanical Engineering building, and the time slots in the lab are bookable during the course.

Changes made since the last occasion

  • Video lectures were added
  • Home problems are graded differently, now with grade 3, 4, or 5
  • There is now a final assessment meeting in the end of the course
  • For grades 4 or 5 for the project work, an oral presentation is required

Learning objectives and syllabus

  • Describe properties of common types of robotic hardware, including sensors, actuators, and computational nodes
  • Apply modern software development and deployment strategies connected with autonomous robots
  • Set up and use equations of motion of wheeled autonomous robots
  • Apply basic sensor fusion
  • Set up and use computer simulations of autonomous robots
  • Apply global and local navigation of autonomous robots
  • Apply the basics of behavior-based robotics and evolutionary robotics
  • Apply methods for decision making in autonomous robots
  • Discuss the potential role of autonomous robots in society, including social, ethical, and legal aspects
  • Discuss technical challenges with autonomous robots in society

Link to the syllabus on Studieportalen.

Study plan

Examination form

The examination consists of graded individual homework assignments and a graded project. Both the results on the individual homework part as well as the project group work results contribute to the student’s final grade on the course. There is also a final individual assessment meeting in the end of the course, see below.

See the following subsections for details regarding assessment and grading. Refer also to the below section regarding plagiarism.


The grades that are given in this course are the following: 5, 4, 3, U (not passed).

Homework assessment

The homework consists of mandatory problems. Each problem will be graded and given the grade 3, 4, or 5. A minimum grade of 3 is required on each home problem in order to pass the course. Re-submissions of home problems will be allowed, but then only to reach the lowest grade.  Refer to the home problem descriptions for details regarding their individual grading.

Project assessment

The project work grade depends on the total accomplishment of the project, and a final report that well describes the solutions is required. For the grade of 4 or 5 an oral presentation is required, and will be scheduled on the students' request after the submission of the report. In addition, the project teams must demonstrate their progress during the course by the accomplishment of some sub-goals.

The students’ performance on the project will be evaluated and graded both on the group level and on the individual level in addition to the project assessment. If the contribution of an individual is found to be particularly strong or particularly weak, that will result in +1 or -1 in the final grade of that individual. Therefore, students of the same project group might end up with different project grades.

Individual team member assessment

Each team member will during the course individually assess fellow team members’ contributions in the project using a specific form, i.e. the Individual Team Member Assessment sheet. The form will be sent out after the project report was submitted

Each student shall then submit the form, via email to the course examiner, before receiving a grade on the project. Your answers will not be shared with anyone else! However, it is a delicate matter to do such judgements about other individuals, so please take on this responsibility with honesty and care.

Final course grade

The student’s final course grade will be determined according to the following principles: The mean value of the home problem grades (3, 4, or 5), plus the grade on the project work (3, 4, or 5), divided by two. The resulting value, rounded to the nearest integer value, is the final individual grade of the course.

In ambiguous cases, such as e.g. when the summation equals 4.5, the student’s overall performance in the course will also be taken into account. For example, it is more likely that the final grade will be a 5, in the above mentioned case, if the student has scored high in the individual tasks and the group grade was low, than in case of the opposite. In that latter case a final grade of 4 is more likely to occur.

Important: In the end of the course, an individual assessment meeting will be held with each student, where the examiner of the course will ask detailed questions about the submitted home problems and project work. If the student fails to give sufficient answers to these questions the grade might be lowered or blocked for further assessment. The questions will only assess the already approved work, and solely work as a final check for the grading. Therefore, the student should review all submitted content before the meeting, but is not expected to give further information than what was given in the submissions.

Regarding plagiarism

Briefly, plagiarism occurs when someone present ideas, concepts, texts, or other structures from someone else, as their own. I.e. without appropriately acknowledging the original source. See further in the document about Academic integrity and honesty at Chalmers (link).

The reports (and other submitted materials such as e.g. programming code) should be original work in order to be passed. Therefore, all reports and texts that you submit for grading and examination must be submitted via Urkund, which is a tool for detection of plagiarism. Please see the assignment descriptions for details about how to submit your reports via Urkund. Note that all suspected cases of plagiarism (not only those detected by Urkund) will be reported to the university disciplinary committee (disciplinnämnden)!

Course summary:

Date Details Due