An important issue that arises in the automation of many large-scale surveillance and reconnaissance tasks is that of tracking the movements of (or maintaining passive contact with) objects navigating in a bounded area of interest. Oftentimes in these problems, the area to be monitored will move over time or will not permit fixed sensors, thus requiring a team of mobile sensors--or robots--to monitor the area collectively. In these situations, the robots must not only have mechanisms for determining how to track objects and how to fuse information from neighboring robots, but they must also have distributed control strategies for ensuring that the entire area of interest is continually covered to the greatest extent possible. This paper focuses on the distributed control issue by describing a proposed decentralized control mechanism that allows a team of robots to collectively track and monitor objects in an uncluttered area of interest. The approach is based upon an extension to the ALLIANCE behavior-based architecture that generalizes from the domain of loosely-coupled, independent applications to the domain of strongly cooperative applications, in which the action selection of a robot is dependent upon the actions selected by its teammates. We conclude the paper be describing our ongoing implementation of the proposed approach on a team of four mobile robots.
Lynne E. Parker,
"Distributed multirobot sensing and tracking: a behavior-based approach", Proc. SPIE 2589, Sensor Fusion and Networked Robotics VIII, (15 September 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.220950; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.220950