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Distributed Energy-efficient Autonomous Robots


Mobile robots (mobots) have a wide range of applications in humanitarian operations, including search and rescue operations.  To successfully accomplish these missions, mobots must maintain high mobility by carrying their own energy sources, and they must make efficient use of their limited energy resources in order to be capable of operating for extended periods of time.  In this project, we are investigating a new methodology of constructing distributed energy-efficient mobots.  We are designing, implementing, and evaluating a team of mobots controlled by using biologically inspired engineering principles, where inter-mobot communication is conducted through wireless ad hoc networks with peer-to-peer overlay protocols. The various sub-problems that are part of this project are:

(1) Biologically inspired algorithms for sensing, planning, coordination, and control. 

(2) Energy-efficient, scalable, and robust wireless networks for inter-mobot communication.

(3) Energy models for each component in a mobot, the interactions among the components inside each      mobot, and the interactions among mobots.  These models will be used to evaluate the energy efficiency of the control algorithms developed in (1) and the communication mechanism presented in (2). 

In addition, a comprehensive simulator will be constructed to study a large number of mobots: the team movement, configuration, coordination, and the communication among them. The simulator will also validate whether biological systems indeed use energy efficiently.

Broader Impacts:  This project has broader impacts on society, education, and outreach. Mobots will be able to operate for significantly longer times in humanitarian missions and outer space exploration.   Research results will be incorporated into graduate and undergraduate courses at Purdue, and the lab will host an      open session to local K-12 students every year to demonstrate the mobot prototypes and to encourage participation by students in engineering and science activities.


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 2003 School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University
For questions regarding this webpage contact smdas AT purdue DOT edu.
Last updated: 12/21/2005.