Data acquisition and data fusion of large numbers of sensors present unique challenges for control systems designers and applications engineers alike. In recent years the sensors industry has been moving towards the use of smart sensors, fieldbus networks, and localized smart processes. Merritt Systems Inc. of Rockledge, Florida, has been in the forefront of these developments since 1987 when it started pursuing the development of large sensor networks for robotic obstacle avoidance. As a result of this work a number of unique smart sensors and network technologies have been developed which have a wide range of applications beyond robotics. These include: one of industry’s first smart sensors, smart sensor networks, PC‐based data acquisition and control systems, and novel robotic modelling and motion planning algorithms. Whenever large networks of sensors with mixed sensing media are used, this technology has far‐reaching applications to industry and the research community.
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