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Network controllers (NCs) are devices that are capable of converting dynamic, spatially extended, and functionally specialized modules into a taskable goal-oriented group called networked control system. This paper examines the practical aspects of designing and building an NC that uses the Internet as a communication medium. It focuses on finding compatible controller components that can be integrated via a host structure in a manner that makes it possible to network, in real-time, a webcam, an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), and a remote computer server along with the necessary operator software interface. The aim is to deskill the UGV navigation process and yet maintain a robust performance. The structure of the suggested controller, its components, and the manner in which they are interfaced are described. Thorough experimental results along with performance assessment and comparisons to a previously implemented NC are provided.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2010