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Journal of Information Science and Engineering, Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 711-727 (July 2013)

Coordinated Multi-Robot Exploration under Connectivity Constraints

Soft Computing and Expert System Laboratory
ABV-Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management
Gwalior, 474015 India

This paper addresses the exploration problem for a multi-robot system subject to constraints imposed by the communication network. Our goal is to develop a decentralized approach that leads each robot towards the frontier while keeping connectivity with the neighbors. A frontier is a part of the environment, which divides explored from unexplored space. We make use of a graph theory for characterizing the communication, which employs the adjacency and Laplacian matrices of the graph and their spectral properties. The Fiedler value of the Laplacian matrix describes the communication interactions of all the robots in the system. The proposed approach has been implemented and evaluated in several simulated environments and with varying team sizes. The results demonstrate that our decentralized approach can efficiently spread the robots in the environment. As a result, the robots are able to quickly accomplish their exploration mission despite the constraints introduced by the limited connectivity.

Keywords: multi-robot system, exploration, frontier, connectivity, mobile network

Full Text () Retrieve PDF document (201307_07.pdf)

Received February 13, 2012; accepted June 27, 2012.
Communicated by Chia-Hui Chang.