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Autonomous vehicles are used in areas hazardous to humans, with significantly greater utility than the equivalent, manned vehicles. This paper explores the idea of a coordinated team of autonomous vehicles, with applications in cooperative surveillance, mapping unknown areas, disaster management or space exploration. Each vehicle is augmented with a wireless sensor node with movement sensing capabilities. One of the vehicles is the leader and is manually controlled by a remote controller. The rest of the vehicles are autonomous followers controlled by wireless actuator nodes. Speed and orientation are computed by the sensor nodes in real time using inertial navigation techniques. The leader periodically transmits these measures to the followers, which implement a lightweight fuzzy logic controller for imitating the leader's movement pattern. The solution is not restricted to vehicles on wheels, but supports any moving entities capable of determining their velocity and heading, thus opening promising perspectives for machine-to-machine and human-to-machine spontaneous interactions in the field. Visit  to see a video demonstration of the system.
Date of Conference: 9-13 March 2009