Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 March 2007
Mobile manipulation involves the most important key issue in robotics: integration. While hardware integration seems to be nearly solved due to the increasing dominance of PC-compatible systems, software integration is still a challenge, since a lot of issues arise with the variety of operating systems, device drivers, application libraries, and programming languages which need to be merged in any real-world robotic system. This paper presents a software architecture, which seamlessly integrates robot arms, mobile bases, vision systems and sensing devices, in a distributed, homogeneous agent framework. Based on the Java platform, the agent-based architecture allows great flexibility in the integration of components, and provides a simple yet extensible and powerful software layer to develop further mobile manipulating environments. Detailed software issues, as well as preliminary results are shown, which pave the way towards the development of network-ready applications involving mobile and manipulating artifacts.