Autonomous Multi-Robot Exploration in Communication-Limited Environments

Stephen Cameron, Julian de Hoog and Arnoud Visser University of Oxford University of Amsterdam

Mobile Robots Today

• reconnaissance, surveillance • mapping, exploration • search and rescue • using the
RoboCup Rescue scenario as inspiration

2

Typical Challenges • Engineering • Localisation and Mapping • Team Coordination • Communication 3 .

The Exploration Problem • • • • • • Team of robots exploring unknown environment Assume reasonable SLAM (particle filters / scan matching) Central base station Possibly communication drop-out or failure How to: • • explore as quickly as possible relay as often and as efficiently as possible currently assuming paths are easily found and stay found! 4 .

path cost .Existing Approaches • Line of sight • Frontiers / Utilities • Robot packs .communication likelihood 5 .information gain .

Role-based Exploration Relays Explorers Ferry information back and forth between teammates Explore far reaches of the environment 6 .

Hierarchy • control commands • new information Both centralised and distributed 7 .

Demo 8 .

Where to Rendezvous? • open space • junctions • large comm range 9 .

Path Edges and Nodes 10 .

More Examples 11 .

Dynamic Environments 12 .

A problem 13 .

Swap roles? 14 .

Another Common Scenario: Loops 15 .

γ(B. A and B A wants to go to DA. then let A and B swap (role.DA).The “Role Swap” Rule • • • • • Two robots. .γ(B.. B to DB Let γ(u.. location in hierarchy. state.DA)}..DB)} > max{γ(A..v) be path cost from u to v If max{γ(A. everything) 16 .DB).

The “Role Swap” Rule 17 .

Demo 18 .

Which is better? Opportunistic exploration Dynamic role-based exploration 19 .

Knowledge at BaseStation Opportunistic exploration Dynamic role-based exploration 20 .

Control over team Opportunistic exploration Dynamic role-based exploration 21 .

Dynamic Role-based Exploration • • • • • Simple. easy to implement Not dependent on communication Speed of exploration is equivalent to opportunistic frontier / utility based exploration Information is returned to the BaseStation much faster and more frequently Greater control over the team 22 .

Another Example (showing hierarchy and role changes) 23 .

The Same Example (showing comm links) 24 .

easy to implement Not dependent on communication Speed of exploration is equivalent to opportunistic frontier / utility based exploration Information is returned to the BaseStation much faster and more frequently Greater control over the team Dynamic adjustment to various environment types 25 .Dynamic Role-based Exploration • • • • • • Simple.

Realistic? 26 .

Future Work • Theoretical Description of the Role Swap Rule • Extensive testing of emergent behaviour • Additional roles: static relays? • Testing on real robots / third party simulation platform 27 .

html 28 . http://www.gov/public_affairs/ techbeat/tb2007_0608.Credits • • • • • • UAV video: microdrone GmbH (http://www.mcgill. http://www.aspx?rID=3820 Thinning example: Danielle Azar.nist. Tohoku University Search and rescue robot on rubble: NIST.cs.htm Rescue robot entry hole: researchchannel.ca/~godfried/teaching/ projects97/azar/skeleton.org/ prog/displayevent.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4jtguSF0n4) Mapping robot: Tsubouchi Laboratory.researchchannel. University of Tsukuba Search and rescue Kenaf robot: Tadokoro Laboratory.org. http://cgm.

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