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Open AccessArticle

Local Bearing Estimation for a Swarm of Low-Cost Miniature Robots

1
Swarm & Computational Intelligence Laboratory (SwaCIL), Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, The University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
2
Bristol Robotic Lab, University of West England, Bristol, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK
3
Robotics for Extreme Environment Laboratory (REEL), Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, The University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2020, 20(11), 3308; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20113308
Received: 26 March 2020 / Revised: 16 May 2020 / Accepted: 3 June 2020 / Published: 10 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Sensing and Control for Mobile Robotic Systems)
Swarm robotics focuses on decentralised control of large numbers of simple robots with limited capabilities. Decentralised control in a swarm system requires a reliable communication link between the individuals that is able to provide linear and angular distances between the individuals—Range & Bearing. This study presents the development of an open-source, low-cost communication module which can be attached to miniature sized robots; e.g., Mona. In this study, we only focused on bearing estimation to mathematically model the bearings of neighbouring robots through systematic experiments using real robots. In addition, the model parameters were optimised using a genetic algorithm to provide a reliable and precise model that can be applied for all robots in a swarm. For further investigation and improvement of the system, an additional layer of optimisation on the hardware layout was implemented. The results from the optimisation suggested a new arrangement of the sensors with slight angular displacements on the developed board. The precision of bearing was significantly improved by optimising in both software level and re-arrangement of the sensors’ positions on the hardware layout. View Full-Text
Keywords: swarm robotics; range and bearing; sensory system; miniature mobile robotics swarm robotics; range and bearing; sensory system; miniature mobile robotics
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Liu, Z.; West, C.; Lennox, B.; Arvin, F. Local Bearing Estimation for a Swarm of Low-Cost Miniature Robots. Sensors 2020, 20, 3308.

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