By Rodney A. Brooks, Jonathan H. Connell, and Peter Ning
In mobile robot research we believe the structure of the platform, its capabilities, the choice of sensors, their capabilities, and the choice of processors, both onboard and offboard, greatly constrain the direction of research activity centered on the platform. We examine the design and tradeoffs in a low cost mobile platform we have built while paying careful attention to issues of sensing, manipulation, onboard processing, and debuggability of the total system. The robot, named Herbert, is a completely autonomous mobile robot with an onboard parallel processor and special hardware support for the subsumption architecture [Brooks (1986)], an onboard manipulator, and a laser range scanner. All processors are simple low speed 8-bit micro-processors. The robot is capable of real time three-dimensional vision, while simultaneously carrying out manipulator and navigation tasks.
Keywords: mobile robot, parallel processor, laser scanner
adnum: AD-A193632 contract: N00014-86-K-0685, SDF, N00014-85-K-0124
By Jonathan Connell
This report describes a working autonomous mobile robot whose only goal is to collect and return empty soda cans. It operates in an unmodified office environment occupied by moving people. The robot is controlled by a collection of over 40 independent ``behaviors'' distributed over a loosely coupled network of 24 processors. Together this ensemble helps the robot locate cans with its laser rangefinder, collect them with its on-board manipulator, and bring them home using a compass and an array of proximity sensors. We discuss the advantages of using such a multi-agent control system and show how to decompose the required tasks into component activities. We also examine the benefits and limitations of spatially local, stateless, and independent computation by the agents.
Keywords: subsumption, robotics, mobile robot, multi-agent, autonomous, collection
adnum: AD-A216802 contract: N00014-85-K-0124, N00014-86-K-0685