"Sensors and Algorithms for Small Robot Leader/Follower Behavior"
Tracked mobile robots in the 20 kg size class are under development for applications in urban reconnaissance. For efficient deployment, it is desirable for teams of robots to be able to automatically execute leader/follower behaviors, with one or more followers tracking the path taken by a leader. The key challenges to enabling such a capability are (1) to develop sensor packages for such small robots that can accurately determine the path of the leader and (2) to develop path following algorithms for the subsequent robots. To date, we have gyros, a compass, odometry, and differential GPS into an effective sensing package for a small urban robot. This paper describes the sensor package, sensor processing algorithm, and path tracking algorithm we have developed for the leader/follower problem in small robots and shows results of performance characterization of the system. We also document pragmatic lessons learned about design, construction, and EMI issues particular to the performance of state sensors on small robots.