A large number of advancements have taken place in microprocessor-based systems leading to significantly more processing, memory, storage, sensing, actuating, recognition, controlling and communication capabilities. Robotics is one of the areas that have benefited a lot from these advancements. Many important and useful applications for single-robot and multi-robot systems (MRS) have emerged. Such applications include search and rescue, detection of forest fires, mining, construction, disaster management, and many more. MRS systems greatly enhance the capabilities and effectiveness of today’s robots. They extend the robotic system capabilities by increasing the ability to perform more complex tasks and allow performance of inherently distributed ones. In addition, they increase parallelism, enhance robustness, and improve system reliability. However, to perform their tasks in an effective manner, communication between the individual robots becomes an essential component. In this paper, we discuss the various types and architectures of MRS systems and focus on the networking issues, and services that are required to enable MRS systems to be more efficient in performing their roles in their respective applications. We also identify the similarities and differences between mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs) and MRS systems, analyze robot-to-robot (R2R) and robot-to-infrastructure (R2I) communication links, and identify the protocols that can be used at the various levels in the MRS hierarchy.
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