Multi-Robot Systems

Multi-Robot Systems

Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2074-2.ch010
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While the concepts of robotics and planning may be easily understood by the taking a single robot, it is not necessary that the problems we solve have a single robot in the planning scenario. In this chapter, the authors present systems with multiple robots, each robot attempts to coordinate and cooperate with the other robots for problem solving. The authors first look at the specific problems where multiple robots would be a boon for the system. This includes problems of maze solving, complete coverage, map building, and pursuit evasion. The inclusion of multiple robots in the scenario takes all the concepts of single robotic systems. It also introduces some new concepts and issues as well. They look into all these issues in the chapter which include optimality in terms of computational time and solution generated, completeness of planning, reaching a consensus, cooperation amongst multiple robots, and means of communication between robots for effective cooperation. These issues are highlighted by specific problems. The problems include multi-robot task allocation, robotic swarms, formation control with multiple robots, RoboCup, multi-robot path planning, and multi-robot area coverage and mapping. The authors specifically take the problem of multi-robot path planning, which is broadly classified under centralized and decentralized approaches. They discuss means by which algorithms for single robot path planning may be extended to the use of multiple robots. This is specifically done for the graph search, evolutionary, and behavioral approaches discussed in the earlier chapters of the book.
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Planning Problems In Robotics

The domain of robotics is extremely wide. There is increasing use of robotics from industry to personal use, from military to space, and from healthcare to entertainment. A large number of domains are benefited by robotics. While the automation experts are working towards making systems as autonomous as possible, research continues to raise new issues, concerns, and solutions. While each of these domains has problems from the complete hierarchy of robotics, our focus is specifically onto the problem of planning. Path planning is not the only problem that these domains demand. There may be other levels of planning needed, depending upon the domain and the requirements. Further research sometimes creates benchmark problems that have physical relevance. The intention is to research what would be needed in future, as well as to encourage innovative ways of problem solving which may have relevance to existing problems.

While the focus of the book was the task of motion planning, we cannot neglect the other problems. In this section, we briefly describe some of the research problems in robotic literature, at the planning level, which are under constant research. All these problems in some manner are similar to the problem of robot path planning as per the ways we modeled it in the earlier chapters; however, these introduce some characteristic behaviors that make them challenging to solve as well as expose new set of issues. We restrict our discussion to three such problems, which are maze solving, complete coverage problem, and pursuit evasion. These are discussed in the next sub-sections.

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