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The authors are interested in the design of a system-on-chip implementing the vision system of a mobile robot. Following a biologically inspired approach, this vision architecture belongs to a larger sensorimotor loop. This regulation loop both creates and exploits dynamics properties to achieve a wide variety of target tracking and navigation objectives. Such a system is representative of numerous flexible and dynamic applications which are more and more encountered in embedded systems. In order to deal with all of the dynamic aspects of these applications, it appears necessary to embed a dedicated real-time operating system on the chip. The presence of this on-chip custom executive layer constitutes a major scientific obstacle in the traditional hardware and software design flows.
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