Date of Award

Summer 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computational Modeling & Simulation Engineering


Modeling and Simulation

Committee Director

James F. Leathrum

Committee Member

Roland R. Mielke

Committee Member

Frederic D. McKenzie


The purpose of this thesis is to introduce a simulation-based software framework that facilitates the development of collaborative autonomous systems. Significant commonalities exist in the design approaches of both collaborative and autonomous systems, mirroring the sense, plan, act paradigm, and mostly adopting layered architectures. Unfortunately, the development of such systems is intricate and requires low-level interfacing which significantly detracts from development time. Frameworks for the development of collaborative and autonomous systems have been developed but are not flexible and center on narrow ranges of applications and platforms. The proposed framework utilizes an expandable layered structure that allows developers to define a layered structure and perform isolated development on different layers. The framework provides communication capabilities and allows message definition in order to define collaborative behavior across various applications. The framework is designed to be compatible with many robotic platforms and utilizes the concept of robotic middleware in order to interface with robots; attaching the framework on different platforms only requires changing the middleware. An example Fire Brigade application that was developed in the framework is presented; highlighting the design process and utilization of framework related features. The application is simulation-based, relying on kinematic models to simulate physical actions and a virtual environment to provide access to sensor data. While the results demonstrated interesting collaborative behavior, the ease of implementation and capacity to experiment by swapping layers is particularly noteworthy. The framework retains the advantages of layered architectures and provides greater flexibility, shielding developers from intricacies and providing enough tools to make collaboration easy to perform.