CotsBots: An Off-the-Shelf Platform for Distributed Robotics


This thesis presents the CotsBots – inexpensive and modular robots built entirely from commercial off-the-shelf components. These robots provide a convenient platform on which to investigate algorithms, cooperation and distributed sensing in large (greater than 50) robot networks. Each robot is small (13cm x 6.5cm base) and costs approximately $200 in quantity. Each is equipped with on-board processing, radio communication, and a base platform for mobility. Software is written using TinyOS, an open-source, event-driven operating system for large-scale distributed sensor and actuator networks. TinyOS also provides a modular software environment where implementation details may be abstracted away from the robot application developer. Several applications were designed and tested to demonstrate the use of CotsBots in sensor networks and multi-robot applications. While the CotsBots built for this thesis are only capable of relatively simple applications, future work in software tools, sensor integration, and localization should help shape the CotsBots into an extremely useful tool for multi-robot research.

Publication date: 
May 31, 2004
Publication type: 
Master's Thesis
Bergbreiter, S. (2004). CotsBots: An Off-the-shelf Platform for Distributed Robotics : Research Report. United States: University of California, Berkeley.

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