Autonomy Park

The University of Florida Autonomy Park is an instrument for the investigation, characterization, validation, and verification of heterogeneous networks of multi-agent autonomous systems operating in contested environments. A distinguishing feature of this instrument is the inclusion of unique software-defined radios (SDRs) that facilitate spectrum access strategies for autonomous mobile radio network collaboration in an outdoor environment with a contested RF spectrum. The facility includes a 240ft x 60ft x 90ft fully netted outdoor robotic facility with an indoor ground station and computational buildings to examine the response of networked robotic systems in outdoor environments with real-world sensing and communication capabilities.

Autonomous systems included in the facility include: Jackal ground robots from Clearpath Robotics, Husky ground robots from Clearpath Robotics, Astro quadrotor drones from Freefly Systems, Bebop quadcopters from Parrot, Alta-X class heavy-lift quadrotor drone from Freefly Systems, Go 1 Edu-PLUS quadrupeds from Unitree Robotics, and a B1 quadruped from Unitree Robotics.  

Sensing capabilities include: GPS RTK, on-board and external cameras, IMUs, and LiDAR. We have a variety of software-defined radios that can be used to provide fully custom communication stacks and jammers. These include ETTUS USRP N310, N210, and N200 radios, which are appropriate for ground robots, the Alta-X, and fixed ground stations; and B210 and E310 embedded radios that are small enough to be carried on the Freefly drones. We are currently in the process of getting bids for a private 5G cellular network that will cover the autonomy park, and we will have a Starlink low-earth orbit satellite data link for testing coordinated operations. The 5G network will be able to connect to a testbed of 5G radio access network and core cellular infrastructure though a VLAN to servers and devices on campus across sites without a wired internet link.

The ground station facility includes enterprise level server grade computer systems used for high-computational demand AI methods and for managing the network of (sensor and command and control) data for the network of autonomous systems. This computer system includes: an Intel i9-12900KS CPU, 32GB of RAM, and 5TB of storage computer tasked with observing experiments, collecting data, and displaying the data onto a large six-monitor display wall; an AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro 3975WX CPU, two Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti GPUs, 512GB of ECC RAM, and 10TB of storage computer tasked with handling demanding computational tasks; x2 Intel Xeon E5-2697 CPU, 128GB ECC RAM, and 192TB Network Attached Storage (NAS).