Problem Definition

For cooperative mobile robots, which, from the viewpoint of this chapter, are only moving platforms carrying wireless sensors or systems with sensors, communication is a necessity in many applications that enable them to carry out an assigned task. Each mobile node scenario has its characteristics with different communication requirements. How the communication problems should be handled depends widely on the kind of task the nodes will perform. For the communication design, the following characteristics of the robot application are relevant: topology changes; the robot group character; network traffic; and the traffic pattern. When frequent topology changes are expected, there will be high requirements on network maintenance to assure connectivity and on the routing protocol to be able to find alternate routes. The topology changes can maintain connectivity because of the mobility of robots or to optimize or adapt the structure for given needs. Requirements on the initial formation will not be so strict because the initial topology is not expected to last long. In scenarios with low rates of necessary topology changes, more demands can be made on the initial formation to prepare the network for later operation (as in Christensen and Overgaard [18]).

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