Duckietown: An open, inexpensive and flexible platform for autonomy education and research
Multi-robot manipulation allows for scalable environmental interaction, which is critical for multi-robot systems to have an impact on our world. A successful manipulation model requires cost-effective robots, robust hardware, and proper system feedback and control. This paper details key sensing and manipulator capabilities of the r-one robot. The r-one robot is an advanced, open source, low-cost platform for multi-robot manipulation and sensing that meets all of these requirements. The parts cost is around $250 per robot. The r-one has a rich sensor suite, including a flexible IR communication/localization/obstacle detection system, high-precision quadrature encoders, gyroscope, accelerometer, integrated bump sensor, and light sensors. Two years of working with these robots inspired the development of an external manipulator that gives the robots the ability to interact with their environment. This paper presents an overview of the r-one, the r-one manipulator, and basic manipulation experiments to illustrate the efficacy our design. The advanced design, low cost, and small size can support university research with large populations of robots and multi-robot curriculum in computer science, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. We conclude with remarks on the future implementation of the manipulators and expected work to follow.