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A Simulation Framework for Evaluating Mobile Robots

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000125642D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Aug-15
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Jun-09
Document File: 8 page(s) / 789K

Publishing Venue

National Institute of Standards and Technology

Related People

Stephen Balakirsky: INVENTOR [+2]

Abstract

As robotic technologies mature, we are moving from simple systems that roam our laboratories to heterogeneous groups of systems that operate in complex non-structured environments. The novel and extremely complex nature of these autonomous systems generates a great deal of subsystem interdependencies that makes team, individual system, and subsystem validation and performance measurement difficult. Simple simulations or laboratory experimentation are no longer sufficient. To assist in evaluating these components and making design decisions, we are developing an integrated real-virtual environment. It is our hope that this will greatly facilitate the design, development, and understanding of how to configure and use multi-robot teams and will accelerate the robots' deployment.

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A Simulation Framework for Evaluating Mobile Robots Stephen Balakirsky and Elena Messina

National Institute of Standards and Technology Intelligent Systems Division Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8230 Email: stephen@cme.nist.gov, elena.messina@nist.gov ¤†

Abstract

  As robotic technologies mature, we are moving from simple systems that roam our laboratories to heteroge- neous groups of systems that operate in complex non- structured environments. The novel and extremely com- plex nature of these autonomous systems generates a great deal of subsystem interdependencies that makes team, in- dividual system, and subsystem validation and perfor- mance measurement di[ffi]cult. Simple simulations or labo- ratory experimentation are no longer su[ffi]cient. To assist in evaluating these components and making design deci- sions, we are developing an integrated real-virtual envi- ronment. It is our hope that this will greatly facilitate the design, development, and understanding of how to con- figure and use multi-robot teams and will accelerate the robots' deployment.

Keywords:

  simulation, architectures, 4D/RCS, mobile robots, algo- rithm validation

1 Introduction

  There have been many recent successes in the field of mobile robotics. These range from single robot systems such as MINERVA that has been designed to give guided tours of museums [8], Predator and

   ¤No approval or endorsement of any commercial product by the National Institute of Standards and Technology is intended or implied. Certain commercial equipment, instruments, or ma- terials are identified in this report in order to facilitate under- standing. Such identification does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the National Institute of Standards and Tech- nology, nor does it imply that the materials or equipment iden- tified are necessarily the best available for the purpose.

   This work was sponsored in large part by grants from the Army Research Laboratories and the DARPA Mobile Au- tonomous Robot Software Program.

Global Hawk that have been designed for military air applications, and Demo III [7] [5] and Perceptor that have been designed for military ground applications to multi-robot systems such as the multiplicity of robot teams involved in the Robocup soccer league [3].

  As these systems become more complex and at- tempt to perform more ambitious tasks, the knowl- edge and resources (both hardware and software) that are necessary to make contributions to the field dra- matically increases. As a result, informal (or formal) code sharing now takes place between many universi- ties and research institutions. For example, the code used in the Robocup competitions is published and freely available to anyone who wishes to download and use it, and the mobility and planning software used by the Perceptor program is heavily based upon the code from Demo III. While this code reuse allows re- searchers to gain quick entry into the various mobile robot arenas, it raises some interesting...