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You can launch the roscore on your laptop (or any ROS device that stays connected during the experiment. it could be one of the robots) and then launch your two robots with roslaunch commands. If they are on the same network and you have correctly specified the ROS_MASTER_URI you should have no issues.

By default, the current version of ROS does not allow to have multiple ROS masters on the same network, but efforts have been made to implement this feature, you can have a look at the following packages :

  • http://wiki.ros.org/multimaster_fkie
  • http://wiki.ros.org/rocon_launch

This being said you might want to start working with a single master first and transition to multiple master only if needed. If you are working with a reliable network you probably don't need multiple masters.

Also, if you have multiple robots, make sure that you launch them in separate namespaces (e.g /robot1/,/robot2/ to avoid confusions and conflicts ...