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Using control networks for distributed robotic systems

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5 Author(s)
Janet, J.A. ; TMI Robotics Inc., Chapel Hill, NC, USA ; Wiseman, W.J. ; Michelli, R.D. ; Walker, A.L.
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Through our work we have identified 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. 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; a hexapod colony; and a complex autonomous vehicle. It is believed that attributes observed in these projects can be used to build application-specific systems in other areas

Published in:

Robotics and Automation, 1999. Proceedings. 1999 IEEE International Conference on  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

1999