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This paper describes a technique for coordinating the subsystems of autonomous robots which takes advantage of a distributed blackboard mechanism and a high degree of functional distribution between subsystems to minimize communications and simplify the interfaces. Distributed blackboard memory contains a world model which represents knowledge about itself and its surroundings as collections of objects important to the task and the relations between them. Objects or instances are represented as lists of object-attribute-value-accuracy-confidence-timestamp tuples which are organized into a class tree with inheritance properties and active functions. Intelligent Communications Interfaces maintain the consistency between blackboard memory elements distributed through loosely coupled subsystems by exchanging reports which represent world state information and plans which represent control information. These concepts can be extended for coordinating multiple autonomous robots by making independent robot world models intersect to enable communications and by broadening the interpretation of plans and reports. Coordinating autonomous robots through distributed blackboards makes potentially complex programming simpler by providing a well defined but flexible framework for module interfaces.
Robotics and Automation. Proceedings. 1986 IEEE International Conference on (Volume:3 )
Date of Conference: Apr 1986