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Ad-hoc wireless network coverage with networked robots that cannot localize

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4 Author(s)
Correll, Nikolaus ; Comput. Sci. & Artificial Intell. Lab., Massachusetts Inst. of Technol., Cambridge, MA, USA ; Bachrach, J. ; Vickery, D. ; Rus, D.

We study a fully distributed, reactive algorithm for deployment and maintenance of a mobile communication backbone that provides an area around a network gateway with wireless network access for higher-level agents. Possible applications of such a network are distributed sensor networks as well as communication support for disaster or military operations. The algorithm has minimalist requirements on the individual robotic node and does not require any localization. This makes the proposed solution suitable for deployment of large numbers of comparably cheap mobile communication nodes and as a backup solution for more capable systems in GPS-denied environments. Robots keep exploring the configuration space by random walk and stop only if their current location satisfies user-specified constraints on connectivity (number of neighbors). Resulting deployments are robust and convergence is analyzed using both kinematic simulation with a simplified collision and communication model as well as a probabilistic macroscopic model. The approach is validated on a team of 9 iRobot Create robots carrying wireless access points in an indoor environment.

Published in:

Robotics and Automation, 2009. ICRA '09. IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

12-17 May 2009

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