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Design Of A Cooperative Autonomous Mobile Robot System At The Undergraduate Level

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.198.1 - 5.198.8



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Bradley E. Bishop

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Session 2220

Design of a Cooperative Autonomous Mobile Robot System at the Undergraduate Level

Bradley E. Bishop Weapons and Systems Engineering, United States Naval Academy


This paper describes an undergraduate-level design project in a course on autonomous mobile robot systems. The project is intended to allow a great deal of latitude in implementation and to promote teamwork and integrated design methodologies in a framework that is both instructional and interesting. The technical challenges of the project include limited bandwidth communications, cooperative multi-agent algorithms, data storage and transmission and physical system design/control. Additionally, the project is structured in such a way as to provide the students experience in organizing large teams of cooperative designers and working with small task-dedicated design teams. This design project was a subcomponent of a course in Autonomous Robot Design in the Systems Engineering Department at the United States Naval Academy.

1. Introduction

Mobile robotics is a multidisciplinary field with a broad range of application domains and focus areas1. As a test domain, the construction and development of mobile robot applications is both motivational and highly instructional, allowing students to gain experience in algorithm design, computer interfacing, sensor selection and development, physical structure design, and control. A broad range of mobile robotics projects have been successfully implemented in undergraduate education over the last several years, from MIT’s famous 6.270 course9 to esoteric competitions such as the BEAM robot olympics10.

Traditionally, mobile robotics courses at the undergraduate level have focused on issues in the construction and programming of these devices for tasks that rely on the use of either pre- defined map-based techniques or reactive architectures. Recently, development of a navigation map through exploration has become a primary goal of many mobile robots2, and cooperation between individual robots is an increasingly accepted method for generating complex system behaviors and capabilities1,12,13.

In the Autonomous Robot Design course in the Systems Engineering Department at USNA, we have developed a cooperative mobile robot design project that emphasizes a variety of issues that are germane to the design and implementation of real robot systems. The project requires the development of a "swarm" of autonomous robots that must cooperatively generate a map of a

Bishop, B. E. (2000, June), Design Of A Cooperative Autonomous Mobile Robot System At The Undergraduate Level Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8269

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