Proceedings PaperNetworking a mobile robot
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Conventional mobile robotic systems are `stand alone'. Program development involves loading programs into the mobile, via an umbilical. Autonomous operation, in this context, means `isolation': the user cannot interact with the program as the robot is moving around. Recent research in `swarm robotics' has exploited wireless networks as a means of providing inter- robot communication, but the population is still isolated from the human user. In this paper we report on research we are conducting into the provision of mobile robots as resources on a local area computer network, and thus breaking the isolation barrier. We are making use of new multimedia workstation and wireless networking technology to link the robots to the network in order to provide a new type of resource for the user. We model the robot as a set of resources and propose a client-server architecture as the basis for providing user access to the robots. We describe the types of resources each robot can provide and we outline the potential for cooperative robotics, human-robot cooperation, and teleoperation and autonomous robot behavior within this context.