miniROaCH

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Funding: MAST-CTA

Students: S. Ahmad, J. Kloeppel, J. Regalado

Introduction

     The miniROaCH Testbed is a small scale, affordable and portable multi-vehicle robotic platform. The purpose of this research is to simulate and implement a small-scale swarm testbed. Developing a swarm testbed can be difficult in terms of robot localization. The testbed tackles this difficult issue by utilizing an aerial vehicle used to monitor and publish the locations and orientations of the swarm’s ground agents.
     The miniROaCH Testbed consists of one quadrotor and multiple crawler robots. The team has built a mobile motion capture system so that experiments can be done both indoors and outdoors. The system is able to precisely estimate the poses of multiple ground robots with respect to the absolute world frame. A downward facing camera mounted on the UAV is used to detect the relative poses of the ground robots in its field of view. The poses of each ground robot are ultimately transformed into the coordinates of the world frame through proper transformation calculations. The position of the quadrotor is measured with respect to the world frame for the transformation.

Approach

The research is divided mainly into two parts:

* Simulation: Gazebo will be used to create an environment with a hovering quadrotor, miniROaCH ground robot models and camera mounted beneath the quadrotor. AprilTags will be used on the ground robots to detect their unique positions relative to the quadrotor frame which will ultimately be transformed into the world frame.

* Practical implementation of the system: A tripod mount with a camera facing downwards will be used to detect the positions of the miniROaCH robots on the table top. An AprilTag package for ROS will be used to decode the AprilTags posted on the ground robots. Once the transform tree in ROS is available, a simple swarm control algorithm will be demonstrated with the system.

Tools

1) ROS (packages : rotors_simulator, apriltags_ros etc)

2) Rviz and Gazebo

3) Raspberry Pi Zero

4) 5 miniROaCH Robots (MARHES custom build)

5) Tripod and camera mount

6) USB Camera

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