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Distributed Robotics


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Our robot AMOUR will swim for malaria on December 3 2005. If you wish to be a
sponsor check out

Cooperative Underwater Robotics


The application of autonomous mobile networks of robots and sensors
to the underwater domain has great potential for monitoring the health
of river and marine environments.

The goal of this project is to develop a system of cooperative
underwater robots and sensors that are networked together for
versatile cooperative tasks such as deployment, node localization,
network placement and maintenance of desired network
properties, leading to self-organized underwater systems. Our research
thrust has three lines of investigation:

developing experimental
devices in support of cooperative networked underwater tasks
(including our robot Amour and our underwater Sensor node Aquafleck);


developing localization, mapping, control and planning
algorithms for coupled cooperative underwater systems and for
networked underwater systems;


implementing the proposed algorithms and
deploying them in ocean environments.

Cooperation is an important aspect of designing useful underwater robots.
Long-range and long-time underwater operations requires power and thus
a large robot. Once at the destination the large size may not
be advantageous if the robot has to perform many maneuvers: the bigger
the robot, the larger the power consumed. Furthermore,
the maneuverability of large robots is lower than that of small
robots. When the tasks at the robot destination involve
intricate trajectories or traversal of narrow tunnels (for example for
purposes such as monitoring, exploration, shipwreck inspection,
imaging, or data muling from an already deployed sensor network)
a smaller robot is more useful. We would like to develop robot systems
that meet both needs: they can do long-range travel and they are
maneuverable once they arrive at the destination and propose cooperation
as a means for accomplishing this.

We are collaborating on this project with Peter Corke (CSIRO)
and John Leonard (MIT)