Automatic coordination and deployment of multi-robot systems
Smith, Brian Stephen
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We present automatic tools for configuring and deploying multi-robot networks of decentralized, mobile robots. These methods are tailored to the decentralized nature of the multi-robot network and the limited information available to each robot. We present methods for determining if user-defined network tasks are feasible or infeasible for the network, considering the limited range of its sensors. To this end, we define rigid and persistent feasibility and present necessary and sufficient conditions (along with corresponding algorithms) for determining the feasibility of arbitrary, user-defined deployments. Control laws for moving multi-robot networks in acyclic, persistent formations are defined. We also present novel Embedded Graph Grammar Systems (EGGs) for coordinating and deploying the network. These methods exploit graph representations of the network, as well as graph-based rules that dictate how robots coordinate their control. Automatic systems are defined that allow the robots to assemble arbitrary, user-defined formations without any reliance on localization. Further, this system is augmented to deploy these formations at the user-defined, global location in the environment, despite limited localization of the network. The culmination of this research is an intuitive software program with a Graphical User Interface (GUI) and a satellite image map which allows users to enter the desired locations of sensors. The automatic tools presented here automatically configure an actual multi-robot network to deploy and execute user-defined network tasks.
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