Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Computer Science


William L Bynum


There are numerous sensors from which to choose when designing a mobile robot: ultrasonic, infrared, radar, or laser range finders, video, collision detectors, or beacon based systems such as the Global Positioning System. In order to meet the need for reliability, accuracy, and fault tolerance, mobile robot designers often place multiple sensors on the same platform, or combine sensor data from multiple platforms. The combination of the data from multiple sensors to improve reliability, accuracy, and fault tolerance is termed Sensor Fusion.;The types of robotic sensors are as varied as the properties of the environment that need to be sensed. to reduce the complexity of system software, Roboticists have found it highly desirable to adopt a common interface between each type of sensor and the system responsible for fusing the information. The process of abstracting the essential properties of a sensor is called Sensor Virtualization.;Sensor virtualization to date has focused on abstracting the properties shared by sensors of the same type. The approach taken by T. Henderson is simply to expose to the fusion system only the data from the sensor, along with a textual label describing the sensor. We extend Henderson's work in the following manner. First, we encapsulate both the fusion algorithm and the interface layer in the virtual sensor. This allows us to build multi-tiered virtual sensor hierarchies. Secondly, we show how common fusion algorithms can be encapsulated in the virtual sensor, facilitating the integration and replacement of both physical and virtual sensors. Finally, we provide a physical proof of concept using monostatic sonars, vector sonars, and a laser range-finder.



© The Author