1992 Volume 35 Issue 4 Pages 616-622
Robotic systems composed of identical units can be made flexible in size, degrees of freedom, and output motions in response to desired tasks. There are three basic characteristics which are desirable in such systems : (1) expandability, (2) perceptibility of unit's location, and (3) fault tolerance. These characteristics can be varied depending on the networking and information distribution scheme adopted. The present paper proposes a method of classifying and comparing networking schemes for such robotic systems based on the above-mentioned basic characteristics, and the optimal networking scheme is then clarified for a particular application. An experimental transfer robot composed of identical units, each of which has nineteen arms, was constructed, and the experimental results are shown to support the proposed method.