Cooperative mobile robot applications enable robots to perform tasks that are more complex than those that each single robot can perform alone. In this application context, communication networks play a very important role, as they have to cope with strict requirements (e.g., in terms of mobility, reliability, and bounded latencies). Recent cooperative robot applications foresee the support of low datarate communication technologies, that provide, among other benefits, lower energy consumption and easy integration with Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs). Unfortunately, the state-of-the-art solutions either entail high costs and complexity or are not suitable for low data rate communications. Consequently, novel solutions for cooperating robots are required. For this reason, this paper presents RoboMAC, a new MAC protocol for mobile cooperating robots that enables the integration of robots with WSNs, supports mobility and real-time communications, and provides high scalability. The paper also presents a proof-of-concept implementation that proves the feasibility of the RoboMAC protocol on COTS devices.
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