18 June 2012 Multi-robot terrain coverage and task allocation for autonomous detection of landmines
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Multi-robot systems comprising of heterogeneous autonomous vehicles on land, air, water are being increasingly used to assist or replace humans in different hazardous missions. Two crucial aspects in such multi-robot systems are to: a) explore an initially unknown region of interest to discover tasks, and, b) allocate and share the discovered tasks between the robots in a coordinated manner using a multi-robot task allocation (MRTA) algorithm. In this paper, we describe results from our research on multi-robot terrain coverage and MRTA algorithms within an autonomous landmine detection scenario, done as part of the COMRADES project. Each robot is equipped with a different type of landmine detection sensor and different sensors, even of the same type, can have different degrees of accuracy. The landmine detection-related operations performed by each robot are abstracted as tasks and multiple robots are required to complete a single task. First, we describe a distributed and robust terrain coverage algorithm that employs Voronoi partitions to divide the area of interest among the robots and then uses a single-robot coverage algorithm to explore each partition for potential landmines. Then, we describe MRTA algorithms that use the location information of discovered potential landmines and employ either a greedy strategy, or, an opportunistic strategy to allocate tasks among the robots while attempting to minimize the time (energy) expended by the robots to perform the tasks. We report experimental results of our algorithms using accurately-simulated Corobot robots within the Webots simulator performing a multi-robot, landmine detection operation.
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Prithviraj Dasgupta, Prithviraj Dasgupta, Angélica Muñoz-Meléndez, Angélica Muñoz-Meléndez, K. R. Guruprasad, K. R. Guruprasad, } "Multi-robot terrain coverage and task allocation for autonomous detection of landmines", Proc. SPIE 8359, Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense XI, 83590H (18 June 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.919461; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.919461

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