Date of Award

Summer 8-12-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Electrical & Systems Engineering

First Advisor

Vijay Kumar

Abstract

There are a large class of problems, from search and rescue to environmental monitoring, that can benefit from teams of mobile robots in environments where there is no existing infrastructure for inter-agent communication. We seek to address the problems necessary for a team of small, low-power, low-cost robots to deploy in such a way that they can dynamically provide their own multi-hop communication network. To do so, we formulate a situational awareness problem statement that specifies both the physical task and end-to-end communication rates that must be maintained. In pursuit of a solution to this problem, we address topics ranging from the modeling of point-to-point wireless communication to mobility control for connectivity maintenance. Since our focus is on developing solutions to these problems that can be experimentally verified, we also detail the design and implantation of a decentralized testbed for multi-robot research. Experiments on this testbed allow us to determine data-driven models for point-to-point wireless channel prediction, test relative signal-strength-based localization methods, and to verify that our algorithms for mobility control maintain the desired instantaneous rates when routing through the wireless network. The tools we develop are integral to the fielding of teams of robots with robust wireless network capabilities.

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Robotics Commons

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