I would like to open some discussion among the teams about the proposed radio degradation multiplier mentioned in our last team leader meeting.
Radio degradation is of course a fact of life in various rescue and response situations. Right now, we allow (and encourage) teams to use tethers in the arena because of the practicalities of running so many robots in the one place, but this does mean that communications are unrealistically good. This is something that we have been looking to address for many years (even back to the early years of me being a competitor around 2006 when we were developing fault and packet loss tolerant codecs).
As mentioned in the presentation by Martin, for the past 2 years, the “vSTING” software has been demonstrated and used at the RoboCupRescue German Open, including being used in the finals where it was well received. I honestly think this is our best opportunity to inject some much-needed realism into the communications part of RoboCupRescue.
vSTING is a program, running in Linux on a suitable dual-homed computer (a computer with two network ports), that simulates a degraded network channel. You plug your OCU into one of the network ports, and the robot into the other one (via an ethernet tether, or through a good wireless link), and load up a profile representing the type of degraded network link you want to simulate between the two devices.
It is proposed that this be introduced in 2023 both in the “Technology Demonstrator”, and as a 2x multiplier in the main competition to promote partial autonomy.
I have just been informed that the instructions for deploying vSTING on more general hardware are still being written. Currently instructions are available for deploying this on an APU-4D4 embedded PC running Ubuntu 20.04.
Of course, we would like to make sure that all teams have a fair opportunity, and sufficient development time, to benefit from this multiplier. This is especially important as the teams going to the German Open have already had a couple of years of exposure to this software.
So I have a question for teams who are interested in taking advantage of this multiplier and/or participating in the “Technology Demonstrator”. When should be the deadline for the instructions and settings for vSTING in order to develop this in your entry for 2023?