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Proceedings Paper

A small, cheap, and portable reconnaissance robot
Author(s): Samuel H. Kenyon; D. Creary; Dan Thi; Jeffrey Maynard
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Paper Abstract

While there is much interest in human-carriable mobile robots for defense/security applications, existing examples are still too large/heavy, and there are not many successful small human-deployable mobile ground robots, especially ones that can survive being thrown/dropped. We have developed a prototype small short-range teleoperated indoor reconnaissance/surveillance robot that is semi-autonomous. It is self-powered, self-propelled, spherical, and meant to be carried and thrown by humans into indoor, yet relatively unstructured, dynamic environments. The robot uses multiple channels for wireless control and feedback, with the potential for inter-robot communication, swarm behavior, or distributed sensor network capabilities. The primary reconnaissance sensor for this prototype is visible-spectrum video. This paper focuses more on the software issues, both the onboard intelligent real time control system and the remote user interface. The communications, sensor fusion, intelligent real time controller, etc. are implemented with onboard microcontrollers. We based the autonomous and teleoperation controls on a simple finite state machine scripting layer. Minimal localization and autonomous routines were designed to best assist the operator, execute whatever mission the robot may have, and promote its own survival. We also discuss the advantages and pitfalls of an inexpensive, rapidly-developed semi-autonomous robotic system, especially one that is spherical, and the importance of human-robot interaction as considered for the human-deployment and remote user interface.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 May 2005
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 5778, Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense IV, (20 May 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.603979
Show Author Affiliations
Samuel H. Kenyon, Northeastern Univ. (United States)
D. Creary, Northeastern Univ. (United States)
Dan Thi, Northeastern Univ. (United States)
Jeffrey Maynard, Northeastern Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5778:
Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense IV
Edward M. Carapezza, Editor(s)

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