Let me first say that I have some experience with Arduino and that is why I am considering it as the starting point for this project. Second, if I build this project it is going to be over a fairly large time period and I have no problem taking the time to learn what I don't know in order to make it work. What I'm looking to do is replace a device that can be purchased from industry for more than $200k with something I build myself hopefully in the $20k range. This isn't a hobbyist idea my background is in mechanical engineering and like I said I have some Arduino experience.
I need to be able to read an RFID signal, and trigger some relays based on that signal. Next I need to move a device similar to a 3 axis CNC with stepper motors, while the motors are moving I need to be able to receive signals from a camera and track objects likely using a separate program on my PC such as OpenCV, and control the movement of the steppers based on the output from OpenCV. Next I need to read signals from several photosensors, and infrared sensors, and have the ability to trigger relays based on the readings from these sensors. Also I need to save the data from these sensors to a file on my PC. Once this part of the operation is compete I again need to move the steppers and then finally trigger a series of relays to complete the operation. Before beginning all over again, and running continuously for many days.
The reason I'm asking if this can be done with Arduino connected constantly to a PC which handles the image processing and saves the files is because I know how to interact with the sensors and steppers through Arduino.
My biggest question is: Is what I described possible or should I be finding some other means of making the PC talk to the steppers, sensors, camera, and OpenCV software.