Randy A. Cortez, Herbert G. Tanner, Ron Lumia, and Chaouki T. Abdallah


Sensor networks, cooperative control, radiation sensing


We coordinate a mobile sensor network to map radioactivity over a polygonal region. The advantage of this methodology is that it provides quick situational awareness regarding radiation levels, which is being updated and refined in real-time as more measurements become available. The control algorithm steers mobile platforms along the gradient of sensor mutual information, based on the statistics of the radiation counters and the dynamics of the observed process. It is tailored to cases of weak radioactivity, where source signals may be buried in background. We steer mobile sensors to locations which are critical points of a function that quantifies the information content of the measured signal, whereas the time- asymptotic properties of the selected information metric facilitate the stability of the group motion. Information surfing allows for reactive mobile sensor network behaviour and adaptation to environmental changes, as well as human retasking. Computer simulations and experiments are conducted to verify the asymptotic behaviour of the robot group and its distributed sensing and mapping capabilities.

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