A Methodology for Visible Light Communication in Swarm Robotic Systems



Maxseiner, Alexander

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Robotic swarms can benefit from means of communications between agents to perform most collaborative tasks. A communication method that scales linearly with the swarm size is required as the number of agents increases significantly. We propose a method that communicates inherently with proximity, as opposed to traditional fully connected communications. Also knowing swarm state information can improve the efficiency of the swarm. Visible Light Communication (VLC) using a camera and LEDs solves two problems for swarms at once, communication and the location of the sending agent. Information from the frequency of a blinking LED can be inferred over time. Parsing data from many agents in a single agent's frame simultaneously is possible due to using a camera and segmenting the frame. The location of the sending agent can be extracted in the local frame of the receiving agent with the camera frame and the centroid of the light source. In this method of communication, the receiver's communication rate is scaled with the number of agents in \frame". When the camera is not being used to communicate, it can be used to collect information from the environment or usage for other tasks. Methods to perform communication and localization using LEDs paired with Digital and event-based cameras are presented. Methods to improve the data rate using Frequency Shift Keying(FSK) and Multiple Frequency Shift Keying(MFSK) were presented and tested for their effectiveness. Results showed a low bit-error rate using a camera while inferring spatial locality of the sending agent, showing the feasibility for VLC for robotic swarms.



Swarm communication, Swarm robotics, Visible light communication, Swarming, Swarms