A modular robotic systems architecture for law enforcement agencies

The Robots voor Veiligheid (Robots for Security, RoVe) project is a collaboration between the Dutch National Police (NPN) and the Robotics and Mechatronics (RaM) group. Robotic systems are used by the NPN for surveillance and observation. As the number of different robotic systems owned by the NPN increased, the non-interoperability of the systems caused several problems. Sensors cannot be shared between different systems, and user interface layouts and communication networks are all different. To solve these problems, the RaM group develops an architecture for an interoperable modular robotic system. 

Data Model

To enable the sharing of data between different robotic systems, a data model will be developed. The data model specifies in detail the sensor and control signals. It is developed by the principles of the Model-Driven Engineering (MDE) methodology, so the data model will also support source code generation. Data Distribution Service (DDS) is used as the middleware for distribution data.

User Interface

A layout specification will be made for the user interface. The layout specification ensures that, for the robot operators, all user interfaces will have the same look and feel. The physical and software buttons are at the same positions on user interfaces from different manufacturers.

Communication Network

The interoperable modular robotic system will use an IP network as communication network. This network is owned, managed, and maintained by the NPN. All the robotic systems will use this network for communication.

Current Activities

Currently we are focussed on the data model and the communication network. First, a data model for video data is developed, since video data is toughest on the communication network. A set-up of 10 smartphones and 10 different cameras is used as demonstrator platform.

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