Mission Design of a Team of Service Robots

Mission Design of a Team of Service Robots

Elias K. Xidias (University of the Aegean, Greece), Nikos A. Aspragathos (University of Patras, Greece) and Philip N. Azariadis (University of the Aegean, Greece)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7387-8.ch023


The purpose of this chapter is to present an integrated approach for Mission Design of a team of Service Robots that is operating in partially known indoor environments such as libraries, hospitals, or warehouses. The robots are requested to serve a number of service stations while taking into account movement safety and other kinematical constraints. The Bump-Surface concept is used to represent the robots' environment through a single mathematical entity and an optimization problem is formulated representing an aggregation of paths length and movement constraints. Then a modified Genetic Algorithm with parallel populations is used for solving the problem of mission design of a team of service robots on the constructed Bump-Surface. Three simulation examples are presented to show the effectiveness of the presented approach.
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The domain of service robotics is a very fast growing area (Habib, 2006). Especially in the field of service robotics in environments such as hospitals, logistics (distribution centers) and post offices (Gürcan et al., 2009); service robots have been developed for several years and first commercial solutions are already available. In most cases, these robots have been single robots, developed for a single purpose with very restricted capabilities and without any “intelligence” (Thiel et al., 2011). Such an example is a robot used to transfer a book from the reception desk to a specific bookshelf. This leads to expensive systems that can hardly be afforded in greater quantities by the service stores. Furthermore, the personnel need to get special training in order to “cooperate” with the robots.

Traditionally, the materials are transferred into an industry or a warehouse by the Carousel technology which is used in industry the last 25 years, Figure 1. A Carousel is consisting of bins mounted to a frame that either spins horizontally or vertically. The orders are fulfilled manually and they are fairly restrictive in terms of allowable product shape and size. The mean transfer rate is lower than those of conveyors and the equipment suffers from the discontinuous motion. The equipment itself is loud, bulky, unreliable and inflexible and presents very low degree of scalability.

Figure 1.

A Carousel technology in a warehouse


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