ATAK Integration through ROS for Autonomous Air-Ground Team

Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Robotics Research Center

Publication Date


Publication Title

2021 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS'21)

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


This work introduces a methodology to interact with a heterogeneous team of autonomous robots performing a search and rescue mission. The autonomous robot team consists of a quadrotor and an unmanned ground vehicle. The robot team’s human interface is the Android Team AwarenessKit (ATAK), which both military and emergency management first responders have found useful. This work’s contribution is creating a platform-agnostic robot operating system (ROS) node used by the various autonomy stacks of each platform. This node is called atakbridge. In order to limit the need to modify the ATAK client applications, atakbridge leverages currently available standard messages within the ATAK framework. This eliminated the need for any specific ATAK plugin. A robot using atakbridge shares its location and the locations ofany objects of interest it detects to a user’s ATAK device. Using the same ATAK device, the user can send waypoints to the robot, which the atakbridge interprets into appropriate autonomy stack representations. We demonstrate the feasibility of integrating ATAK, using atakbridge, into an air-ground team of autonomous robots for a search and rescue mission. The first responder sends the aerial platform to search an area and relays to the ATAK user any possible victims’ locations. Upon receiving these locations, a first responder can dispatch an autonomous ground vehicle to confirm a victim and deliver food, water, and a first aid kit.

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