Date of Original Version



Technical Report

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Abstract or Description

Mobile robots are notoriously unreliable. In order to make significant improvements in mobile robot reliability, we need quantitative methods and precise language for measuring and discussing reliability. Such methods exist within the reliability engineering literature but have seen little use in the design of mobile robots. In this report we present an overview of reliability engineering methods which can be used to predict the probability of failure for mobile robots. We also present here a novel extension to the concept of mean time to failure that incorporates the effects of operating conditions on failure rate. Finally, we demonstrate how these techniques can be used in mobile robot mission design to predict the probability of completing mission tasks. Using these methods, a mission designer can make informed decisions trading reliability against other variables such as cost.

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