Mobile Robot Communication Without the Drawbacks of Wireless Networking

  • Andreas Birk
  • Cosmin Condea
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4020)


The default solution for mobile robot communication is RF-networking, typically based on one of the IEEE 802.11 standards also known as WLAN technology. Radio communication frees the robots from umbilical cords. But it suffers from several significant drawbacks, especially limited bandwidth and range. The limitations of both aspects are in addition hard to predict as they are strongly dependent on environment conditions. An outdoor RF-link may easily cover 100m over a line-of-sight with full bandwidth. In an indoor environment, the range often drops to a few rooms. Walls made of hardened concrete even completely block the communication. Driven by a concrete application scenario where communication is vital, namely robot rescue, we developed a communication system based on glassfibre links. The system provides 100MBit ethernet connections over up to 100m in its default configuration. The glassfibres provide high bandwidth, they are very lightweight and thin, and they can take a lot of stress, much more than normal copper cable. The glassfiber links are deployed from the mobile robot via a cable drum. The system is based on media converters at both ends. One of them is integrated on the drum, thus allowing the usage of inexpensive wired sliprings. The glassfibre system turned out to be very performant and reliable, both in operation in the challenging environment of rescue robotics as well as in concrete experiments.


Mobile Robot Round Trip Time Rescue Robot Communication Relay Robocup Rescue 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. [Ark92]
    Arkin, R.C.: Cooperation without communication: Multiagent schema-based robot navigation. Journal of Robotic Systems 9(3), 351–364 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. [BCK04]
    Birk, A., Carpin, S., Kenn, H.: The IUB 2003 rescue robot team. In: Polani, D., Browning, B., Bonarini, A., Yoshida, K. (eds.) RoboCup 2003. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 3020. Springer, Heidelberg (2004)Google Scholar
  3. [Bir04a]
    Birk, A.: Fast robot prototyping with the CubeSystem. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2004. IEEE Press, Los Alamitos (2004)Google Scholar
  4. [Bir04b]
    Birk, A.: The iub rescue arena, a testbed for rescue robots research. In: Second IEEE International Workshop on Safety, Security, and Rescue Robotics, SSRR 2004 (2004)Google Scholar
  5. [Bir05]
    Birk, A.: The IUB 2004 rescue robot team. In: Nardi, D., Riedmiller, M., Sammut, C., Santos-Victor, J. (eds.) RoboCup 2004. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 3276. Springer, Heidelberg (2005)Google Scholar
  6. [BK03]
    Birk, A., Kenn, H.: A control architecture for a rescue robot ensuring safe semi-autonomous operation. In: Kaminka, G.A., Lima, P.U., Rojas, R. (eds.) RoboCup 2002. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 2752, pp. 254–262. Springer, Heidelberg (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. [BKP03]
    Birk, A., Kenn, H., Pfingsthorn, M.: The iub rescue robots: From webcams to lifesavers. In: 1st International Workshop on Advances in Service Robotics (ASER 2003) (2003)Google Scholar
  8. [BKR+02]
    Birk, A., Kenn, H., Rooker, M., Akhil, A., Vlad, B.H., Nina, B., Christoph, B.-S., Vinod, D., Dumitru, E., Ioan, H., Aakash, J., Premvir, J., Benjamin, L., Gediminas, L., James, M., Andreas, P., Max, P., Kristina, S., Jormquan, S., Julian, W.: The IUB 2002 rescue robot team. In: Kaminka, G.A., Lima, P.U., Rojas, R. (eds.) RoboCup 2002. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 2752. Springer, Heidelberg (2003)Google Scholar
  9. [CB05]
    Carpin, S., Birk, A.: Stochastic map merging in rescue environments. In: Nardi, D., Riedmiller, M., Sammut, C., Santos-Victor, J. (eds.) RoboCup 2004. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 3276, pp. 483–490. Springer, Heidelberg (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. [Dre02]
    Dressler, F.: QoS considerations on IP multicast services. In: Proceedings of International Conference on Advances in Infrastructure for Electronic Business, Education, Science, and Medicine on the Internet (SSGRR 2002w), L’Aquila, Italy (2002)Google Scholar
  11. [Dre03]
    Dressler, F.: A metric for numerical evaluation of the QoS of an internet connection. In: Proceedings of 18th International Teletraffic Congress (ITC18), vol. 5b, pp. 1221–1230 (2003)Google Scholar
  12. [Fer90]
    Ferrari, D.: Client requirements for real-time communication services; RFC-1193. Internet Request for Comments (1193) (1990)Google Scholar
  13. [JMH04]
    Johnson, D.B., Maltz, D.A., Hu, Y.-C.: The dynamic source routing protocol for mobile ad hoc networks (dsr). IETF Internet Draft, draft-ietf-manet-dsr-10.txt (July 2004)Google Scholar
  14. [JW96]
    Johnson, D.B., Waltz, D.A.: Dynamic source routing in ad-hoc wireless networks. In: Imielinski, T., Korth, H. (eds.) Mobile Computing, pp. 153–181. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. [KBs]
  16. [NEMV02]
    Nguyen, H.G., Everett, H.R., Manouk, N., Verma, A.: Autonomous mobile communication relays. In: SPIE Proc. 4715: Unmanned Ground Vehicle Technology IV (2002)Google Scholar
  17. [NPGS03]
    Nguyen, H.G., Pezeshkian, N., Gupta, M., Spector, J.: Autonomous communication relays for tactical robots. In: 11th Int. Conf. on Advanced Robotics (ICAR 2003) (2003)Google Scholar
  18. [OP99]
    O’Hara, B., Petrick, A.: The IEEE 802.11 Handbook: A Designer’s Companion. Standards Information Network. IEEE Press, Los Alamitos (1999)Google Scholar
  19. [Per00]
    Perkins, C.E.: Ad Hoc Networking. Addison Wesley Professional, Reading (2000)Google Scholar
  20. [PPK+03]
    Park, J.-A., Park, S.-K., Kim, D.-H., Cho, P.-D., Cho, K.-R.: Experiments on radio interference between wireless lan and other radio devices on a 2.4 ghz ism band. In: The 57th IEEE Semiannual Vehicular Technology Conference, vol. 3, pp. 1798–1801 (2003)Google Scholar
  21. [RB05]
    Rooker, M., Birk, A.: Combining exploration and ad-hoc networking in robocup rescue. In: Nardi, D., Riedmiller, M., Sammut, C., Santos-Victor, J. (eds.) RoboCup 2004. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 3276, pp. 236–246. Springer, Heidelberg (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. [RMH01]
    Murphy, R.R., Casper, J., Micire, M.: Potential tasks and research issues for mobile robots in roboCup rescue. In: Stone, P., Balch, T., Kraetzschmar, G.K. (eds.) RoboCup 2000. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 2019, p. 339. Springer, Heidelberg (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. [RT99]
    Royer, E.M., Toh, C.-K.: A review of current routing protocols for ad-hoc mobile wireless networks. IEEE Personal Communications Magazine, 46–55 (April 1999)Google Scholar
  24. [Ryb99]
    Rybinski, V.: De-mystifying category 5, 5e, 6, and 7 performance specifications. The Simeon Company (1999),
  25. [Sny01]
    Snyder, R.G.: Robots assist in search and rescue efforts at wtc. IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine 8(4), 26–28 (2001)Google Scholar
  26. [YZ01]
    Akhtar, S., Zheng, Y.: Networks for Computer Scientists and Engineers. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2001)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Birk
    • 1
  • Cosmin Condea
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Engineering and ScienceInternational University BremenBremenGermany

Personalised recommendations