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Applications of control networks in distributed robotic systems

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6 Author(s)
Janet, J.A. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC, USA ; Wiseman, W.J. ; Michelli, R.D. ; Walker, A.L.
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Our research centers around finding hardware and software components that enable us to mimic biological entities and colonies within the context of multi-agent systems. Specifically, we use control networks with fieldbus or wireless data links to connect distributed hardware and software modules. Although there are many implementations of multi-agent systems, most literature seems to focus on the algorithmic aspects. In this paper, we describe how LonWorks control networks, coupled with minimal custom electromechanical devices, can be used to construct multi-agent systems. Important issues include real-time system constraints, fault-tolerance, synchronization, and, of course, solving the robotic tasks at hand. We describe three proof-of-concept projects currently underway: a biped walking robot; an hexapod colony; and a complex autonomous vehicle. It is believed that attributes observed in these projects can be used to build application-specific systems for automation, space exploration, hazardous materials operations, etc

Published in:

Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, 1998. 1998 IEEE International Conference on  (Volume:4 )

Date of Conference:

11-14 Oct 1998