A Flexible and Extendible Architecture for Autonomous Robotics

Jason Garforth and Anthony Meehan

Researchers designing agent-based controllers for robotic systems work within one of several different paradigms ranging from 'traditional' model-based AI through to those based on e.g. evolutionary and/or neurophysiological principles. (Beer, 1990; Cliff, 1990, Dyer, 1994). For some researchers, the architecture of an autonomous robot must plausibly support the underlying principles of their chosen paradigm. Others draw pragmatically on different approaches in order to develop hybrid solutions. (Aylett 1995; Balch, Buhmann, Nourbaksh 1995; Oxley 1994). Software tools/environments for developers of autonomous machines must be informed by the requirements of the development paradigms they seek to support. Even within a single paradigm scalability and flexibility pose problems (Maes 1994). This report outlines an attempt to specify an conceptual architecture to support a broad range of paradigms and describes implementation of the flexible and extensible communications architecture it implies. Supporting the concept of 'Agency'

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