Maintaining Connectivity in Environments with Obstacles

Date of Submission: 
January 29, 2010
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Robotic routers (mobile robots with wireless communication capabilities) can create an adaptive wireless network and provide communication services for mobile users on-demand. Robotic routers are especially appealing for applications in which there is a single user whose connectivity to a base station must be maintained in an environment that is large compared to the wireless range. In this paper, we study the problem of computing motion strategies for robotic routers in such scenarios, as well as the minimum number of robotic routers necessary to enact our motion strategies. Assuming that the routers are as fast as the user, we present an optimal solution for cases where the environment is a simply-connected polygon, a constant factor approximation for cases where the environment has a single obstacle, and an O(h) approximation for cases where the environment has h circular obstacles. The O(h) approximation also holds for cases where the environment has h arbitrary polygonal obstacles, provided they satisfy certain geometric constraints - e.g. when the set of their minimum bounding circles is disjoint.