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Proceedings Paper

Tasking and control of a squad of robotic vehicles
Author(s): Christopher L. Lewis; John T. Feddema; Paul Klarer
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Paper Abstract

Sandia National Laboratories have developed a squad of robotic vehicles as a test-bed for investigating cooperative control strategies. The squad consists of eight RATLER vehicles and a command station. The RATLERs are medium-sized all-electric vehicles containing a PC104 stack for computation, control, and sensing. Three separate RF channels are used for communications; one for video, one for command and control, and one for differential GPS corrections. Using DGPS and IR proximity sensors, the vehicles are capable of autonomously traversing fairly rough terrain. The control station is a PC running Windows NT. A GUI has been developed that allows a single operator to task and monitor all eight vehicles. To date, the following mission capabilities have been demonstrated: 1. Way-Point Navigation, 2. Formation Following, 3. Perimeter Surveillance, 4. Surround and Diversion, and 5. DGPS Leap Frog. This paper describes the system and briefly outlines each mission capability. The DGPS Leap Frog capability is discussed in more detail. This capability is unique in that it demonstrates how cooperation allows the vehicles to accurately navigate beyond the RF communication range. One vehicle stops and uses its corrected GPS position to re-initialize its receiver to become the DGPS correction station for the other vehicles. Error in position accumulates each time a new vehicle takes over the DGPS duties. The accumulation in error is accurately modeled as a random walk phenomenon. This paper demonstrates how useful accuracy can be maintained beyond the vehicle's range.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 September 2001
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 4364, Unmanned Ground Vehicle Technology III, (20 September 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.439974
Show Author Affiliations
Christopher L. Lewis, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
John T. Feddema, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Paul Klarer, Sandia National Labs. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4364:
Unmanned Ground Vehicle Technology III
Grant R. Gerhart; Chuck M. Shoemaker, Editor(s)

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