A Design Process for Robot Capabilities and Missions Applied to Microautonomous Platforms
Arkin, Ronald C.
Collins, Thomas R.
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As part of our research for the ARL MAST CTA (Collaborative Technology Alliance) , we present an integrated architecture that facilitates the design of microautonomous robot platforms and missions, starting from initial design conception to actual deployment. The framework consists of four major components: design tools, mission-specification system (MissionLab), case-based reasoning system (CBR Expert), and a simulation environment (USARSim). The designer begins by using design tools to generate a space of missions, taking broad mission-specific objectives into account. For example, in a multi-robot reconnaissance task, the parameters varied include the number of robots used, mobility capabilities (e.g. maximum speeds), and sensor capabilities. The design tools are used to intelligently carve out the space of all possible parameter combinations to produce a smaller set of mission configurations. Quantitative assessment of this design space is then performed in simulation to determine which particular configuration would yield an effective team before actual deployment. MissionLab, a mission-specification platform, is used to incorporate the input parameters, generate the underlying robot missions, and control the robots in simulation. It also provides logging mechanisms to measure a range of quantitative performance metrics, such as mission completion rates, resource utilization, and time to completion, which are then used to determine the best configuration for a particular mission. These metrics can also provide guidance for the refinement of the entire design process. Finally, a case-based reasoning system allows users to maximize successful deployment of the robots by retrieving proven configurations and determine the robot capabilities necessary for success in a particular mission.