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Multi-Robot Interactions

6.836 Embodied Intelligence

Karen Zee Eugene Shih Allen Miu

May 10, 2000 1


Introduction
Project Goals
Multi-robot
interactions
Behavior-based
approach
Following
Constraints
Autonomous
No global control

May 10, 2000 2


Outline
Project considerations
Robot Anatomy
Software Architecture
Refinement of the Robot
Demonstration
Conclusion

May 10, 2000 3


Project considerations
Goal requirements
Desired behaviors
w Mobile
w Recover from collisions
w Find and follow
Practical constraints
Time
Cost
Availability of parts
Preserve our own sanity

May 10, 2000 4


Robot Anatomy

Microcontroller Ranging sensor

Bump sensors

Beacon
emitter

Tracking sensors

May 10, 2000 5


The Robot Brain
Minimum requirements
Enough analog and digital inputs for
interfacing sensors
Enough outputs to drive motors and generate
signals
Low power
Small footprint
Many choices available, we considered:
Compaq Robot Controller Card
LEGO Mindstorms RCX
MIT Handy Board
May 10, 2000 6
Drive train
Two wheel differential drive with a passive
castor wheel
DC motor @ 19000 rpm
Gear ratio = 375:1
Max speed about a foot per second

May 10, 2000 7


Bump Sensors
Goals
Detect collision and the direction of the
collision
Absorb impact for the robot

May 10, 2000 8


Tracking Sensors
Goals
Detect the presence of another robot
Estimate orientation relative to the other robot
to get into a following formation
Once in formation, help maintain alignment
Considerations
Minimize interference between robots
Resilient to ambient noise
infrared

May 10, 2000 9


Tracking Sensors

Approaches
Non-modulated Signal
Strength Triangulation
wSuffers from a flat
response curve
Beacon Direction
Sensing

May 10, 2000 10


Infrared Experiment

May 10, 2000 11


Other anatomical features
Hardware modulation/demodulation
Robustness achieved through modulation
w 40 kHz and 125 kHz dual modulation scheme
Reflective infrared ranging sensor
Used to maintain distance
Break-beam sensors
Used for shaft encoding

May 10, 2000 12


Software Architecture

May 10, 2000 13


Software Architecture (details)
Four primary behaviors Collision handling
Other interesting AFSMs
Maintain course
Follow
Maintain speed

Seek

Wander

May 10, 2000 14


Refinement of a Robot

Using more and better emitters


Adding side panels
Orientation of infrared sensors

May 10, 2000 15


Building a Better Follower
Rear-wheel drive makes following difficult
Front-wheel drive
Better following behavior but harder to follow

May 10, 2000 16


Demonstration

VIDEO
(Our Oscar Submission)

May 10, 2000 17


Conclusion
Multi-robot interactions can be achieved
using behavior-based techniques
Embodiment of robot strongly impacts
following behavior

May 10, 2000 18


Interesting Behaviors
Deadlock
Livelock (a.k.a. corners are bad)
Fortunately, we have a real world

May 10, 2000 19


Circuit Implementation: Receiving
40 kHz and 125 Hz signals are received by
infrared sensor
Sensors filter and demodulate 40 kHz
Tone decoders demodulate the 125 Hz

May 10, 2000 20


Circuit Implementation: Transmitting
Generate 40 kHz and 125 Hz signals using
two astable multivibrators using inverter
pair

May 10, 2000 21


Software Architecture
collision shaft
handling encoding

maintain
follow s speed
s

maintain
seek s course
s

HL motor LL motor
wander s control
s control

May 10, 2000 22