SSC Pacific
Communication Relays: AMCR



Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) under the Mobile Autonomous Robot Software (MARS) program in fiscal years (FYs) 2001-04, AMCR demonstrated communication relaying by autonomous slave robots using wireless ad hoc networking technology developed by BBN Technologies under a separate MARS project. The slave robots (Pioneer 2-DXs) were equipped with lidar and sonars for obstacle avoidance, and followed the robots ahead in a convoy using laser-retroreflective barcodes (see Fig. 1). Each slave robot monitored the quality of the communication link to the robot behind it, and stopped to become a stationary relay node when a link-breakage-prediction algorithm determined that the link was about to fail. An iRobot ATRV and a Segway RMP were used alternately as the remotely-controlled lead robot.

Figure 1. An AMCR demonstration, with the robots about to enter an underground World War II gun battery (left) and the locations where the slave robots stopped to become stationary relay nodes (right).

SSC Pacific developed an ad hoc networking radio under this project that combined an in-house developed radio interface board, an onboard computer, an 802.11b PCMCIA radio card, and BBN Technologies’ Hazy-Sighted Link-State ad hoc networking software. Named the Compact Ad Hoc Networking Radio (CANR), 100 of these radios were produced and distributed to other MARS performers for use on their autonomous robot projects.

For further information, see:

  • Nguyen, H.G., Pezeshkian, N., Gupta, A., and N. Farrington, "Maintaining Communication Link for a Robot Operating in a Hazardous Environment", ANS 10th Int. Conf. on Robotics and Remote Systems for Hazardous Environments, Gainesville, FL, March 28 - 31, 2004. 
  • Nguyen, H.G., Pezeshkian, N., Raymond, M., Gupta, A., and J.M. Spector, "Autonomous Communication Relays for Tactical Robots", IEEE 11th Int. Conf. on Advanced Robotics (ICAR 2003), Coimbra, Portugal, June 30-July 3, 2003. 
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Updated: 7/15/2013 10:21 AM EST   Published