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Talk: 10-Spears

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Talk-10: A MOOS-LCM Middleware Bridge and an Updated pNav MOOS Sensor Fusion Application

Anthony Spears, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology

In this technical presentation, we present our work in creating a middleware bridge between MOOS and the lightweight communications and marshalling (LCM) framework. We will also present our work in updating the MOOS pNav navigational sensor fusion module for compatibility with MOOS-IvP 17. Both of these software packages will be released as open source code through a public Git repository for use by the broader community.

It is often desirable to integrate open source software modules from different robotic middleware communities such as MOOS, ROS, and LCM into a single system design to yield a more capable or robust architecture. Each middleware community provides unique strengths, capabilities and software applications not available in the other middleware communities. In this presentation, we detail our new open source software package that provides a bridge between MOOS and LCM, another popular robotic middleware favored for its low-overhead communication architecture. Our bridge application forwards desired communication packets between MOOS and LCM communities and is configured with an xml file at runtime without requiring source code recompilation. This MOOS-LCM bridge provides a compliment to the existing MOOS-ROS bridge developed by Kevin DeMarco at Georgia Tech. Our target application is an unmanned underwater vehicle (Icefin) at Georgia Tech which uses LCM as a core communication architecture, but must also support the advanced and experimental autonomy available with the MOOS IvP Helm application. We will present the design of the MOOS-LCM bridge package as well as details of our example target application. The software package developed here will be provided open-source to the research community and we hope this will advance what is capable in autonomous systems by lowering the barriers between these middleware communities.

In addition to this MOOS-LCM bridge, we will also present our updated pNav module for MOOS-IvP 17 compatibility. pNav is a MOOS navigation sensor fusion module which was dropped from recent MOOS releases and is no longer supported. This module can be used for calculating an optimal navigation or localization solution for a maritime robotic vehicle based on multiple partially-redundant but noisy navigation sensors (e.g. DVL, IMU, pressure, dead reckoning). We have brought this package up to date with the current MOOS-IvP release (17.7) and verified its compatibility. We plan to release this version of pNav as a third-party MOOS application package as part of our public Git repository for use by the broader community.

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