Date of Original Version
Abstract or Description
Multi-robot systems (MRS) have great promise for revolutionizing the way a variety of important and complex tasks are performed. While the underlying science is advancing quickly, the engineering problems associated with deploying multi-robot team under real world constraints have not been adequately addressed. In this work, we are developing teams of Cooperative Robotic Watercraft (CRW) for critical applications including flood response, water monitoring and security. This paper details the steps in the development and deployment of our low-cost, robust CRW system, including design considerations, system description, user interface, and subsequent field-testing results. We took the watercraft into real environments and ran them through the types of exercises they will perform in real deployments, to better understand the full range of issues involved in creating and deploying real multi-robot systems. We report field testing results from two unique and different environments: four days of testing in an irrigation pond and six weeks in the Philippines, including after a typhoon; resulting in more than 100 boat hours in the water and hundreds of thousands of data points. By the end, the process and the resultant boats were effective and robust, and could be controlled by one non-computer science undergraduate student and local Filipinos with no formal education.
Proceedings of the 11th International Confer- ence on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AA- MAS 2012), Conitzer, Winikoff, Padgham, and van der Hoek (eds.).