The goal of the cots-bots project is to use commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components to build and deploy inexpensive and modular robots which can be used to investigate algorithms, and for cooperation and distributed sensing in large (> 50) robot networks. Current work is targeted towards providing a standard robot platform (both hardware and software) with a variety of modular sensor and actuator boards. The software used is based on the TinyOS operating system developed by Professor David Culler's group. Because the robots are intended to be simple in terms of computation, communication, and sensors, many of the algorithms demonstrated on the CotsBots platform will find future use in the MEMS Microrobot project.
To date, 50 robots have been built, a software platform has been developed, a simulator has been created, and work has begun on a low-cost inertial navigation system. Current algorithms being investigated include localization, robot diffusion, mapping, and pursuit-evasion games.
Figure 1: An example of a CotsBots robot--all hardware components are off-the-shelf and the software is open-source. The goal is to create an inexpensive and modular robot platform on which to test a variety of distributed robot algorithms.