A Powered Floor System with Integrated Robot Localization
Stefano Seriani, Sergio Carrato, , Andrea Cernigoi, Adriano Zibai, Paolo Gallina
(rank Q2 in Computer Networks and Communications)
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One of the most pressing issues in the field of mobile robotics is power delivery. In the past, we have presented a powered floor based solution. In this article, we propose a system which combines a powered floor with a robot pose estimation system. The floor on which the mobile robots move is composed of an array of interdigitated conductors that provide DC power supply; these stripes are interwoven similarly to what happens in a carpet, thus creating a checkerboard of positive and negative pads. The robots are powered through sliding contacts. The power supply voltage is modulated with a binary encoding that uniquely identifies each conductor stripe power line; in this way, each robot is able to self-localize, by exploiting the information coming from the contacting pins. We describe the theoretical framework that allows concurrent power delivery and localization (with error boundaries). Then, we present the experimental evaluation that we performed using a prototype realization of the proposed powered floor system. We believe that our system offers to practitioners who need to experiment with several robots at the same time a different option, in terms of effectiveness-cost trade-off, with respect to existing approaches.