Teams competing in DARPA's Subterranean Challenge (SubT) are sending robots into the gloomy depths of the mine for the challenge's Tunnel Circuit event. The biggest problem: communications. Engineers from CU Denver, part of an interdisciplinary SubT team called MARBLE, which also includes members from CU Boulder, are tackling the challenge with a novel communications network designed explicitly for the challenges of subterranean work.
"We were tasked to design a new, robust and reliable communication system that could transfer significant amounts of data in real-time," says Mark Golkowski, professor of electrical engineering at CU Denver. The team rejected several iterations of radio technology, eventually lighting on radio hardware from Doodle Labs, that was small, powerful, compatible with robotics applications, and offered multi-frequency capability.
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