Distributed Robotic Intelligent Behaviors

Period of Performance: 07/21/2003 - 04/21/2004


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Architecture Technology Corp.
9971 Valley View Road Array
Eden Prairie, MN 55344
Principal Investigator


Recent military efforts have illustrated the difficulty for conventional weapons to find and defeat "deep-targets" that are concealed, guarded, mobile, or even buried. Examples include underground hardened bunkers, cave/tunnel systems, and mobile SCUD launchers. Miniature robotics could be used to find, collect data, track, and even defeat such targets, but the robots need to be well coordinated, and possess an intelligence for finding creative solutions towards achieving its mission. A distributed robotics system architecture is proposed that allows a swarm of heterogeneous robots to be dropped into a search area, and perform deep-target reconnaissance missions. Included in this approach are the collections of intelligent behaviors that control the individual robots, and the mechanisms for selection and composition of compound behaviors. The architecture takes into account the unique requirements and characteristics of the miniature robotic hardware, the communications and power constraints, and the types locomotion and sensors that are anticipated to be present in the system. In Phase I, the distributed robotic architecture will be designed, and prototype behaviors will be implemented in a simulation for analysis. During Phase II, the system will be implemented upon a collection of small robots already developed at the University of Minnesota Distributed Robotics Laboratory. This research will support critical DOD warfighter applications for defeating deep-targets, as well as other planning and monitoring applications in robotics, C4I, autonomous unmanned vehicles and Future Combat Systems. Commercial applications include: support of just-in-time manufacturing, intelligent highway and air traffic control; work-cell manufacturing; industrial inspection; autonomous farming; nuclear facility maintenance; personal assistants (softbots); and mobility aids for the handicapped.