Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Advisor 1

Nina Mahmoudian

Committee Member 1

Gordon Parker

Committee Member 2

Wayne Weaver


Microgrids are small-scale, decentralized systems for generation, storage, and management of electricity to provide power within a local area. By establishing these microgrids using autonomous robots, they can be made safer and more easily reconfigurable. This thesis presents a plan and outlines the infrastructure needed for scaling up previous experimental work on such systems. This work brings together a variety of tools in the form of both software and hardware to set the stage for how further development can be completed. An architecture for physical testing has been built to validate the full potential of navigation and making electrical connections in unknown environments. This is done by selecting a robotic platform and integrating it with a robotic arm, a specialized locking electrical connector, a spool for laying wire, and a camera for visual servoing. This hardware architecture has also been modeled in simulation for expanded development, testing, and analysis. The simulation environment has been constructed in ROS using the program Gazebo. This environment has been customized to allow for simulation of multiple robots which match the physical system. Scenarios have been tested in simulation to show that it compares to real-world demonstrations and to scale them up with more robots.