The cloud robotics paradigm aims at enhancing the abilities of robots by using cloud services, but it still poses several challenges in the research community. Most of the current literature focuses on how to enrich specific robotic capabilities, overlooking how to effectively establish communication between the two fields. Our work proposes a “plug-and-play” solution to bridge the communication gap between cloud and robotic applications. The proposed solution is designed based on the mature WebSocket technology and it can be extended to any ROS-based robotic platform. The main contributions of this work are the definition of a reliable autoconnection/autoconfiguration mechanism as well as to outline a scalable communication layer that allows the effective control of multiple robots from multiple users. The “plug-and-play” solution was evaluated in both simulated and real scenarios. In the first case, the presence of users and robots was simulated with Robot Operating System (ROS) nodes running on five machines. In the real scenario, three non-expert users teleoperated, simultaneously, three remote robots by using the proposed communication layer with different networking protocols. Results confirmed the reliability at different levels: at startup (success_rate =
100%); during high-rate communications (message_lost = 0%); in performing open-loop spiral trajectories with enhancement, with respect to similar works; and in the quality of simultaneous teleoperations.
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