Volume 20 Issue 10 - Publications Date: 1 October 2001
Distributed Coordination in Modular Precision Assembly Systems
A.A. Rizzi The Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, J. Gowdy and R.L. Hollis
A promising approach to enabling the rapid deployment and reconfiguration of automated assembly systems is to make use of cooperating, modular, robust robotic agents. Over the past 5 years, the authors have been constructing just such a system suitable for assembly of high-precision, high-value products. Within this environment, each robotic agent executes its own program, coordinating its activity with that of its peers to produce globally cooperative precision behavior. To simplify the problems associated with deploying such systems, each agent adheres to a strict notion of modularity, both physically and computationally. The intent is to provide an architecture within which it is straightforward to specify strategies for the robust execution of potentially complex and fragile cooperative behaviors. The underlying behaviors use a runtime environment that includes tools to automatically sequence the activities of an agent. Taken together, these abstractions enable a designer to rapidly and effectively describe the high-level behavior of a collection of agents while relying on a set of formally correct control strategies to properly execute and sequence the necessary continuous behaviors.
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