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MOAST and USARSim-A Combined Framework for the Development and Testing of Autonomous Systems



Christopher J. Scrapper Jr, Stephen B. Balakirsky, Elena R. Messina


Urban Search and Rescue Simulation (USARSim) is an open source package that provides a high-resolution, physics based simulation of robotic platforms. The package provides models of several common robotic platforms and sensors as well as sample worlds and a socket interface into a commonly used commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) simulation package. Initially introduced to support the development of search and rescue robots, USARSim has proved to be a tool with a broader scope, from robot education to human robot interfaces, including cooperation, and more. During Robocup 2006, a new competition based on USARSim will be held in the context of the urban search and rescue competitions. The Mobility Open Architecture Simulation and Tools (MOAST) is a framework that builds upon the 4-D Real-time Control Systems (4D/RCS) architecture to analyze the performance of autonomous vehicles and multiagent systems. MOAST provides controlled environments that allow for the transparent transference of data between a matrix of real and virtual components. This framework is glued together through well-defined interfaces and communications protocols, and detailed specifications on individual subsystem input/output (IO). This allows developers to freely swap components and analyze the effect on the overall system by means of comparison to baseline systems with a limited set of functionality. When taken together, the combined USARSim/MOAST system may be used to provide a comprehensive development and testing environment for complex robotic systems. This paper will provide an overview of each system and describe how the combined system may be used for stand-alone simulated development and test, or hardware-in-the-loop development and testing of autonomous mobile robot systems.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of the SPIE Defense and Security Symposium
Conference Dates
April 17-21, 2006
Conference Location
Orlando, FL
Conference Title
SPIE Defense and Security Symposium


autonomous, Control, control systems, Intelligent Systems, Mobility, Performance Metrics, RCS, Robotics & Intelligent Systems, robots, simulation


Scrapper, C. , Balakirsky, S. and Messina, E. (2006), MOAST and USARSim-A Combined Framework for the Development and Testing of Autonomous Systems, Proceedings of the SPIE Defense and Security Symposium, Orlando, FL, [online], (Accessed April 18, 2024)
Created June 26, 2006, Updated February 19, 2017