Ad Hoc Wireless Networking and Shared Computation for Autonomous Multirobot Systems

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Bevilacqua, Riccardo ; Hall, Jason S. ; Horning, James ; Romano, Marcello (2009)

The article of record as published may be located at A wireless ad hoc network is introduced that enables inter-robot communication and shared computation among multiple robots with PC/104-based single board computers running the real-time application interface patched Linux operating system. Through the use of IEEE 802.11 ad hoc technology and User Datagram Protocol, each robot is able to exchange data without the need of a centralized router or wireless access point. The paper presents three key aspects of this novel architecture to include: 1) procedures to install the real-time application interface patched operating system and wireless ad hoc communication protocol on a multiple robot system; 2) development of a Simulink® library to enable intercommunication among robots and provide the requisite software-hardware interfaces for the onboard sensor suite and actuator packages; 3) methods to rapidly generate and deploy real-time executables using Mathwork’s Real-TimeWorkshop™ to enable an autonomous robotic system. Experimental test results from the Spacecraft Robotics Laboratory at the Naval Postgraduate School are presented which demonstrate negligible network latencies and real-time distributed computing capability on theAutonomous Spacecraft Assembly Test Bed.A complete manual is also included to replicate the network and software infrastructures described in this work. Also, the developed Simulink® library can be requested from the authors. This research was partially supported by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and was performed while R. Bevilacquawas holding a National Research Council Research Associateship Award at the Spacecraft Robotics Laboratory of the US Naval Postgraduate School.
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