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More DARPA Love: Introducing the Centibots

Introducing the latest in urban surveillance: DARPA's Centibots. According to the Centibot website, "The Centibots are a team of 100 autonomous robots (80 ActivMedia Amigobot and 20 ActivMedia Pioneer 2 AT). The goal of the project is to demonstrate by December 2004, 100 robots mapping, tracking, guarding in a coherent fashion during a period of 24 hours."

The website continues:

The Centibots project, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is aimed at developing new technology to support the coordinated deployment of as many as 100 robots for missions such as urban surveillance. A first team of mapping robots (Pioneers with laser range finders) surveyed an area while building and sharing a distributed map. They were followed by a second wave of tracking robots (Amigobots) that configured themselves to efficiently search for an object of interest within that area, sensed and tracked intruders, and shared information among themselves and with a command center. The robots are autonomous and independent of any network infrastructure, carrying and deploying their own communication network (using SRI's patent-pending PacketHop technology). Robots communicate with each other to coordinate their effort. If one robot fails, another takes over its task.
The goal of this project is to advance the state of the art in distributed robotics. The development is structured to exploit existing research solutions that are fairly robust (self-localization, path planning) and then identifying and exploring areas where research is still needed but where solutions are being developed and refined (map construction, multirobot concurrent mapping) as well as areas where significant research is needed (human and robot interaction, team formation). Research areas in which this project is expected to develop innovative solutions include ·A collaborative, multilevel architecture, adaptive to new tasks and team organization and scalable to very large teams ·Distributed map building and deployment of robots ·Large-scale, fault-tolerant communication (PacketHop) ·Robot team interface, monitoring, and interaction with humans Once a team of robots can be sent into an unknown building, build a map in real time, and deploy itself to search the building, practical applications abound. The robots could be sent into areas that are not safe for humans (collapsed or earthquake-damaged buildings, chemical-spill sites, burning buildings, terrorist-occupied structures) or areas where humans could not see anything (smoke-filled buildings) but where robot sensors could. Wherever they were deployed, the robots could build maps and search for people needing to be rescued.

The members of this project are:

SRI International
Stanford University
University of Washington

Read more about the Centibots on The Centibot Project Website -- Click Here

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911:  The Road to Tyranny