A collaborative robotic team may need to allocate multiple tasks within an unknown and highly dynamic environment. Highly dynamic environments entail constantly changing states of its entities, objects, and situational characteristics. Tasks in dynamic environments can have unknown information, changing requirements, and can result in unforeseen goal states. (e.g., searching an unfamiliar building can result in an unknown number of rooms, or open areas to be further searched). Essentially, the task requirements can change, the asset/robot ability to perform the task can change, and the environment can change such that an allocation of tasks may need to be re-allocated. The allocation process must be flexible enough and ad-hoc in nature to compensate for such dynamics. This report presents the results of multiple investigations into various market-based, ad-hoc methods as a means to flexibly allocate tasks across a mobile robotic team in unknown and highly dynamic environments. These ad-hoc methods can be controlled from a centralized point or implemented in a decentralized mode. The decentralized control is of greater interest since it reduces processing bottlenecks, eliminates single points of failures, and can encourage network dataflow that is more natural to the ad-hoc nature of the mobile team of robotic vehicles. This is especially true when the number of tasks and robots are scaled up (i.e., swarm robotics). The approach utilizes weighted formulas that represent a robot’s ability to engage each of the identified tasks, and a task’s allocation is based on comparing the results of these weighted formulae. The allocation process is improved via optimizing the formulas’ weights based on deep-learning methods.
John Budenske and Lori Murray, "Decentralized control methods for self-organizing collaborative robotic teams," Proc. SPIE 10651, Open Architecture/Open Business Model Net-Centric Systems and Defense Transformation 2018, 106510J (Presented at SPIE Defense + Security: April 19, 2018; Published: 9 May 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2306172.
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