Biconnected Structure for Multi-Robot Systems

Mazda Ahmadi, Peter Stone

Many applications of distributed autonomous robotic systems can benefit from, or even may require, the team of robots staying within communication connectivity. For example, consider the problem of multirobot surveillance, in which a team of robots must collaboratively patrol a given area. If any two robots can directly communicate at all times, the robots can coordinate for efficient behavior. This condition holds trivially in environments that are smaller than the robots' communication range. However in larger environments, the robots must actively maintain physical locations such that any two robots can communicate — possibly through a series of other robots. Otherwise, the robots may lose track of each others’ activities and become miscoordinated. Furthermore, since robots are relatively unreliable and/or may need to change tasks (for example if a robot is suddenly called by a human user to perform some other task), in a stable multirobot surveillance system, if one of the robots leaves or crashes, the rest should still be able to communicate. Some examples of other tasks that could benefit from any pair of robots being able to communicate with each other, are multirobot exploration, search and rescue, and cleaning robots.

Subjects: 7.1 Multi-Agent Systems; 17. Robotics

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