Distributed Task Allocation Methodologies for Solving the Initial Formation Problem
Viguria Jimenez, Luis Antidio
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Mobile sensor networks have been shown to be a powerful tool for enabling a number of activities that require recording of environmental parameters at various spatial and temporal distributions. These mobile sensor networks could be implemented using a team of robots, usually called robotic sensor networks. This type of sensor network involves the coordinated control of multiple robots to achieve specific measurements separated by varied distances. In most formation measurement applications, initialization involves identifying a number of interesting sites to which mobility platforms, instrumented with a variety of sensors, are tasked. This process of determining which instrumented robot should be tasked to which location can be viewed as solving the task allocation problem. Unfortunately, a centralized approach does not fit in this type of application due to the fault tolerance requirements. Moreover, as the size of the network grows, limitations in bandwidth severely limits the possibility of conveying and using global information. As such, the utilization of decentralized techniques for forming new sensor topologies and configurations is a highly desired quality of robotic sensor networks. In this thesis, several distributed task allocation algorithms will be explained and compared in different scenarios. They are based on a market approach since our interest is not only to obtain a feasible solution, but also an efficient one. Also, an analysis of the efficiency of those algorithms using probabilistic techniques will be explained. Finally, the task allocation algorithms will be implemented on a real system consisted of a team of six robots and integrated in a complete robotic system that considers obstacle avoidance and path planning. The results will be validated in both simulations and real experiments.