Title: Command of a multi-tier robotic network with local decision-making capabilities

Authors: Jeremy Straub

Addresses: Department of Computer Science, University of North Dakota, 3950 Campus Road, Stop 9015, Grand Forks, ND 58202, USA

Abstract: This paper presents a distributed system for commanding a collection of multiple heterogeneous craft which have various levels of mobility (orbital, aerial and surface) and visibility. Under this model, goals are defined at a high level and goal-fulfilment is delegated to subordinate craft (or groups of subordinate craft). Each craft is responsible for its own decision-making (based on heuristics and incorporating local information) to determine how to best effect the completion of the goals that it is delegated. A scenario for a resource location and assessment mission is used to demonstrate the utility of the approach presented. This scenario starts with the capture of simulated orbital imagery. Prospective targets are identified and tasked to UAV units for additional data collection and assessment. With this additional data collected, surface robots are deployed to conduct final verification activities. This approach is compared to a top-down command approach, where all decisions are made by the orbital tier. Metrics used for evaluation include data transmission requirements and the level of coverage generated.

Keywords: heterogeneous craft; artificial intelligence; UAV command; robotic command; spacecraft command; autonomous control; autonomous robots; space robotics; multi-tier robotic networks; local decision making; unmanned aerial vehicles; resource location; resource assessment; simulation; orbital imagery; robot control; surface robots.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSPACESE.2014.064194

International Journal of Space Science and Engineering, 2014 Vol.2 No.3, pp.225 - 247

Received: 27 Nov 2013
Accepted: 17 Jan 2014

Published online: 04 Aug 2014 *

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