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In this paper, we present an experimental study of strategies for maintaining end-to-end communication links for tasks such as surveillance, reconnaissance, and target search and identification, where team connectivity is required for situational awareness. Our main contributions are three fold: (a) We present the construction of a radio signal strength map that can be used to plan multi-robot tasks and also serve as useful perceptual information. We show how a nominal model of an urban environment obtained by aerial surveillance is used to generate strategies for exploration. (b) We present reactive controllers for communication link maintenance; and (c) we consider the differences between monitoring signal strength versus data throughput. Experimental results, obtained using our multi-robot testbed in three representative urban environments, are presented with each of our main contributions.
Date Posted: 14 February 2008
This document has been peer reviewed.