SynchroSim: An Integrated Co-simulation Middleware for Heterogeneous Multi-robot System





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This work was written as part of one of the author's official duties as an Employee of the United States Government and is therefore a work of the United States Government. In accordance with 17 U.S.C. 105, no copyright protection is available for such works under U.S. Law.
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With the advancement of modern robotics, autonomous agents are now capable of hosting sophisticated algorithms, which enables them to make intelligent decisions. But developing and testing such algorithms directly in real-world systems is tedious and may result in the wastage of valuable resources. Especially for heterogeneous multi-agent systems in battlefield environments where communication is critical in determining the system’s behavior and usability. Due to the necessity of simulators of separate paradigms (co-simulation) to simulate such scenarios before deploying, synchronization between those simulators is vital. Existing works aimed at resolving this issue fall short of addressing diversity among deployed agents. In this work, we propose SynchroSim, an integrated co-simulation middleware to simulate a heterogeneous multi-robot system. Here we propose a velocity difference-driven adjustable window size approach with a view to reducing packet loss probability. It takes into account the respective velocities of deployed agents to calculate a suitable window size before transmitting data between them. We consider our algorithm specific simulator agnostic but for the sake of implementation results, we have used Gazebo as a Physics simulator and NS-3 as a network simulator. Also, we design our algorithm considering the Perception-Action loop inside a closed communication channel, which is one of the essential factors in a contested scenario with the requirement of high fidelity in terms of data transmission. We validate our approach empirically at both the simulation and system level for both line-of-sight (LOS) and non-line-of-sight (NLOS) scenarios. Our approach achieves a noticeable improvement in terms of reducing packet loss probability (≈11%), and average packet delay (≈10%) compared to the fixed window size-based synchronization approach.